Actual Factual Georgia

If you’re new in town or have questions about this special place we call home, ask us! E-mail Andy Johnston at q&a@ajc.com or call 404-222-2002.

Q: Georgia is the nation’s greatest producer of peanuts, so why is it so tough to find homegrown peanuts in the stores in my area? The peanuts are always from North Carolina.

—Joanie Eddie, Atlanta

A: This wasn't a tough nut to crack, thanks to the folks at the Georgia Peanut Commission. Georgia is known as the Peach State, but it produces about 50 percent of the peanuts grown in the U.S., most of which find their way into other products before you put them into your mouth. That's right. The peanuts you shell and eat – or perhaps even drop into your ice-cold glass bottles of Coca-Cola (if you can find Coke in a bottle) – might be grown in another state. Many of Georgia's farmers produce a variety called the Runner Peanut. It's smaller than the Virginia Peanut, which is the kind that's roasted and bagged and consumed by the thousands at baseball games. Or even bought in Georgia's grocery stores. "You can find Georgia peanuts in products ranging from Jif peanut butter, Peter Pan peanut butter, Snickers and M&M's, to name a few products," Joy Carter Crosby, the director of communications at the Georgia Peanut Commission, told me in an email. "So, the next time you want some Georgia peanuts, pick up a jar of peanut butter." Even boiled peanuts often are made from another variety, called the Valencia Peanut, which are sweeter and can have three or more kernels in a shell. That doesn't mean Georgia peanuts can't be found. You can order them and other nutty merchandise from the peanut commission at gapeanuts.com/gift_shop.php or by calling 229-386-3470.

Civil War in Atlanta update: The guns that had been pounding the city for more than a month fell silent on Aug. 25, 1864, as Gen. William T. Sherman sent Union forces to cut the final railroad near Jonesboro. The battle was fought just east and north of the town on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, and resulted in the Yankees cutting the Macon & Western Railroad. Gen. John B. Hood's Confederate army was forced to leave Atlanta and the city surrendered on Sept. 2. Sherman's army began its 2½-month occupation.