Mr. Peanut visits Suffolk

Published 11:10 pm Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Apparently, not everyone likes peanuts. Just ask 2-year-old Jayron Richardson, on left, who did not necessarily enjoy his meeting with Planters spokesnut Mr. Peanut. He was joined in the photo by sister Amanda Richardson, 1, who is being held by Kanisha Wellons. Larry Darden is holding Jayron.

America’s favorite spokesnut stopped by his birthplace on Tuesday to kick off his latest tour.

Mr. Peanut, the dapper legume who has long served as the mascot of Planters Peanuts, visited Suffolk to entertain Planters employees and introduce himself to the people of his hometown.

He brought along pounds of roasted peanuts and the Nutmobile, a street-legal vehicle made of reclaimed materials and powered by bio-diesel fuel, a wind turbine and solar panels.

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“Planters’ Naturally Remarkable Tour has asked me to accompany them as they make their way across the country celebrating sustainability,” Mr. Peanut said in a statement on his Facebook page.

Mr. Peanut was invented in Suffolk, when Planters Peanuts founder Amedeo Obici sponsored a contest for local children to design a mascot for the company. Teenager Antonio Gentile, a Hall Place boy who lived just around the corner from Tuesday’s event, won the contest with his drawing of a peanut with legs and arms. A professional illustrator later added the top hat, monocle and cane.

Last year, Mr. Peanut received a massive makeover, complete with a voice and a few sidekicks. The company also developed a new marketing slogan for its peanuts — “Naturally Remarkable.”

That’s what the tour is all about. As he travels throughout the country, Mr. Peanut will be making stops to plant new Planters Groves in select places, including one in New Orleans.

“We’re making anywhere a little more naturally remarkable,” said Robert Bliss, a Planters employee on the tour.

“It’s really about Kraft and Planters being environmentally responsible,” said Tadd Crawford, another Planters employee. “That’s what naturally remarkable is all about.”

Throughout the spring, Mr. Peanut has been a busy spokesnut, hitting locations and events such as Chicago and the NCAA Final Four.

You can follow Mr. Peanut’s journey across America on the Facebook page, where he will load pictures, videos and more.