Six years ago James Harrell stood on his family’s peanut farm in Suffolk with a cup of coffee in his hand, and he had an epiphany.
“I was drinking coffee and smelling coffee right before harvest,” remembers Harrell, “and I said, ‘Why can’t you turn peanuts into coffee?’”
The coffee he was smelling at the time wasn’t just the stuff in his cup.
In addition to being the former home of Planters Peanuts (RIP Mr. Peanut, Sr.), Suffolk is the self-appointed caffeine capital of Virginia — a title that proudly graces the coffee mugs at city hall. Millions of pounds of coffee are roasted there weekly, in massive facilities devoted to big names like Hills Bros. or Folger’s. When the time is right, the thick aroma of second-crack coffee wafts lingeringly over the peanut fields.