Because the proprietor of the Alabama Peanut Firm on Morris Avenue in downtown Birmingham, Jaime Thursby is at all times creating new flavors so as to add to his rising repertoire of boiled peanuts.
By his rely, Thursby has provide you with 35 or so flavors — from Bloody Mary to Buffalo Ranch, Sriracha Lime to Rooster Noodle, Lemon Pepper to Salty Dill.
Because the title of his enterprise is the Alabama Peanut Firm, although, Thursby has concocted a number of flavors of boiled peanuts that he makes utilizing such Alabama merchandise as Dale’s Steak Seasoning, Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale, Milo’s Well-known Candy Tea and Good Folks Brewing Firm beer.
“There are such a lot of wonderful Alabama manufacturers,” Thursby says. “You do not actually need to look far.”
One in every of his newest flavors, which he began promoting a few months in the past, options Alabama’s iconic sweet-and-spicy Wickles Pickles.
The peanuts are boiled in Wickles’ trademark “wickedly scrumptious” brine and are served with just a few slices of pickles and pods of pink peppers blended in with the peanuts.
“It is such as you’re pickling the peanut,” Thursby says. “The longer you boil it, the extra it simply soaks up the pickle juice. So, it is only a good mixture.”
Thursby had already been making his Salty Dill boiled peanuts when Wickles Pickles co-owner Andy Anderson stopped by the Morris Avenue peanut store in February whereas on the town to attend the annual Southern Foodways Alliance Winter Symposium right here.
“I occurred to go over there and met Jaime, and the peanuts had been wonderful,” Anderson remembers. “I used to be coming from a meals present and I had some Wickles in my automotive, so I introduced him some to see if he needed to attempt it out.”
Thursby experimented with the Wickles Pickles, preferred what he got here up with, and has made two or three batches since. He hopes to supply the Wickles Pickles boiled peanuts on a extra frequent rotation this summer season.
A wedding of two Alabama manufacturers
It’s the good marriage of two Alabama manufacturers, one among which (Wickles Pickles) has been round 21 years, and the opposite of which (Alabama Peanut Firm), though lower than three years previous, is now a part of a Birmingham historical past that goes again greater than a century.
Brothers Will and Trey Sims launched their Wickles Pickles model in 1998 after they acquired a household recipe for the sweet-and-hot pickles from their cousin, Dana Ferniany, who had been promoting the pickles to buddies and at farmers markets.
Ferniany, who was dwelling in Philadelphia on the time, taught the brothers methods to make the pickles, they usually got here again residence to Alabama, rented an previous restaurant house in Dadeville, in Tallapoosa County, and began processing and promoting Wickles Pickles. Anderson got here on board as a 3rd accomplice of their enterprise, Sims Meals Inc., a couple of 12 months later.
After the corporate outgrew its house in Dadeville, they needed to relocate the pickle processing a part of the enterprise to North Carolina, however late final 12 months, Sims Meals Inc. moved the processing again to Alabama, to the Magnolia Vegetable Processors plant in Brundidge.
Whereas the Wickles Pickles model has been round for just a little greater than 20 years, the Morris Avenue peanut store that’s now residence to the Alabama Peanut Firm goes all the best way again to 1907.
That’s when Greek immigrant D.J. Cassimus started promoting sweet and peanuts in what was then known as the Terminal Sweet Kitchen, so named due to its proximity to the previous L&N railroad terminal on the nook of Morris and 20th Avenue.
The peanuts proved extra standard than the sweet, and in 1924, Cassimus acquired out of the sweet enterprise and adjusted the title of his retailer to the Peanut Depot. Cassimus’ son, Alex Cassimus, later took over the shop, and in 1951, he moved it about 100 ft west of its authentic location to its present spot at 2016 Morris Ave.
After the newest tenant moved out of the constructing in 2016, John Cassimus, a grandson of founder D.J. Cassimus, ran the peanut store for a few years earlier than turning it over to Thursby final 12 months.
Thursby and his brother-in-law, Darrell Graf, began their Alabama Peanut Firm about two and a half years in the past and had been searching for a everlasting residence for the enterprise. They discovered the basic spot.
“I joke with those who shifting into this place is like I discovered to play the guitar two years in the past, and now I have been handed the keys to the Grand Ole Opry,” Thursby stated in a earlier interview with AL.com. “There’s numerous strain to make it good.”
Whereas the Morris Avenue peanut store is finest identified for its barrel-roasted peanuts — that are cooked in roasters as previous because the constructing itself — Thursby added boiled peanuts to the lineup after he moved in final 12 months. The roasted peanuts nonetheless account for about 70 p.c of his gross sales.
Along with plain, salted and Cajun roasted peanuts, Thursby gives three flavors of boiled peanuts at his store Mondays via Fridays. Salted and Cajun boiled peanuts are at all times out there, and the third taste adjustments every single day. (As a result of the flavors rotate, it’s best to verify the Alabama Peanut Firm Fb web page or Instagram account to see which of them can be found every day.)
On Saturdays, Thursby gives six types of boiled peanuts, and has a particular deal the place clients might select a “flight” of 4 flavors in eight-ounce containers for $11.
The Alabama Peanut Firm additionally has a sales space at The Market at Pepper Place each different Saturday.
From Dale’s to Milo’s to Wickles
Like a cocktail mixologist, Thursby likes to mess around with new taste mixtures.
The Spicy Dale’s boiled peanuts had been the primary that includes a made-in-Alabama product, he says, they usually proved to be a direct hit.
“It is simply such a Southern staple to me,” he says. “That is what I grew up with, and I simply knew it will work nicely with boiled peanuts. We have been doing that just a few years. It is one among our hottest, too. It is good and salty, and it really works.”
He later got here up with a Firecracker Candy Tea taste made with Milo’s Well-known Candy Tea and a few spices to present it a kick.
“It is boiled with nothing however Milo’s Tea, after which we add some seasoning,” Thursby says. “It is actually good.”
Since Wickles Pickles have grow to be ubiquitous at tailgate events and household gatherings across the South, they’ve popped up in recipes for all the things from sandwiches and dips to cocktails and frozen pops.
So it was solely a matter of time earlier than somebody like Thursby got here up with Wickles Pickles boiled peanuts.
You’ll be able to’t get far more Alabama than that, in any case.
The Alabama Peanut Firm is at 2016 Morris Ave. in Birmingham. The cellphone is 205-538-7422, and the web site is alabamapeanut.com. Hours are 9 a.m. to five p.m. Mondays via Saturdays.