“If someone has land and is encouraged, we do it together,” says Pascual Burgos from his orchard in the railway town of Darwin, at the same time as open your hand and show a handful of peanuts from your last harvestsomething unprecedented for the region.
He tried several times. On one occasion two little plants grew, but they did not have much space and were invaded by tomatoes and bell peppers. Last summer, with the two 20 meter long boards and lots of light, they came in force.
Peanut is a traditional crop from the north of the country and with strong production in Córdoba. Highly in demand due to the consumption boom of craft beers and the ever-present vermouth in the afternoon.
Peanuts in Darwin, a triumph over the Patagonian climate
Pascual and his wife Norma’s desire to experiment to “see if they were into it” they beat the Patagonian climate, which is no longer so cold and shows the effects of climate changewith higher temperatures that anticipate the summer.
“They tell me that there is no precedent, that no one has planted it here,” The man born in Jujuy and who worked for many years in farms, orchards and fruit companies in the Middle Valley is enthusiastic.
“I sowed throughout my life, but I never had peanuts,” Burgos clarifies. “And that I had it on hand in San Pedro, Jujuy, but I didn’t give it importance.” Two months ago he traveled north to visit her mother and siblings and brought them a few kilos “for them to enjoy.”
He acknowledges that Darwin’s land played in his favor because it is very sandysomething essential for this crop.
The house where he lives with Norma, an expert in making peanut soup, belonged to the railway colony. From the sidewalk you can see the old train station. Some boys play soccer in a field near the tracks. “Here it rains and after two hours the game is rearmed because this land absorbs everything,” explains Burgos.
“They tell me that no one has planted it here in the area because it can’t happen. Even the mayor came to see the plants when I harvested”.
Pascual Burgos, horticulturist.
In his garden, where he has grown garlic, bell peppers, aubergines, tomatoes and broad beans, he used two 20-meter boards and planted the peanut kernelsseparated by the length of the footprint of a shoe.
He sowed in October 2022 and in March he harvested his first 20 kilos, but it could have been many more. It is that the plants -which grow at the height of the tomato- must be tilted when they have the sprouts and covered with earth so that the peanut can be formed, something that Pascual learned after the achievement.
Norma explained it like this: “Those who plant it in the north told my husband that as the plant grows you have to increase the soil, tighten the seedlingbecause from each knot that is generated a peanut will come”.
Excited about the harvest, The next step will be to get some meters of nylon to build a greenhouse in the patio and get peanuts in spring. They point to a larger variety, the Virgina, which is red with white stripes and produces two peanuts per pod. A niece will bring them half a kilo of Bahía Blanca so they can do the test.
- $ 1.200
- The value of the kilo of peanuts in the shops of the region
But Burgos is not left alone with the idea of the greenhouse and is going for more. He says that if a producer in the area has half a hectare of sandy land, they could produce it and divide the harvest. The man who experiments with crops has a lot of faith: “It’s just a matter of sowing, watering and being patient: I already learned how to do it.”
With the “try and see if it works” method
“I’m going to try to see if it comes out.” That is the slogan that always guides this horticulturist.
His long years of working with the land gave him an understanding which now, already retired, applies to the few meters available to him.
He admits that he could never make “a good economic difference” with what he sowed. “I was not lucky, produced, but the prices then went backwards”, he explains. A mandarin tree on the sidewalk of his house – wrapped in anti-frost cloth and with its fruits ready – speaks of his new attempt. The same as the tree with navel oranges in the inner courtyard. He then shows an avocado plant. It is known that they have never hit the region, but Pascual doesn’t care. For him nothing is impossible.