Peanut Country

“It smells like french fries.”

We were driving with our friends to spend Sunday at a lake about an hour Northeast of Linyi. The air did indeed smell of french fries. Why?

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It’s peanut harvest time!

On our way to the lake, every village we passed was busy harvesting peanuts, laying them out on every available surface for drying (including the sides of the road) and bagging them up for transport and sale to the many peanut oil processing plants in the area. (Thus the smell of cooking french fries.) Everyone was somehow involved in the process, whether they were pulling the plants out of the ground, hauling them to the road, threshing the dirt and debris away from the peanut pods, scooping up the peanuts into bags, or tying the top part of the plant up into bundles. (We couldn’t figure out what they would do with the leftover plant.) Even the children were close by, helping if they could or playing with other kids if not.

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A small village close by the lake – the peanuts took up most of the country road.

Unfortunately, the smell of peanuts was not the only odor in the air:

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One of many smoke stacks we passed. This one is attached to a brick factory.

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