Major expansion planned for Southampton County peanut processor

Posted at 4:29 AM, Sep 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-28 04:29:12-04

Governor Ralph Northam announced Thursday that Belmont Peanuts of Southampton, Inc. will invest more than $2.5 million to build a new peanut processing, warehousing and retail facility prominently located along Highway 58.

As a result of this expansion, Belmont Peanuts will create fifteen new jobs, grow their purchases of Virginia-grown peanuts by 30 percent and create a new tourism destination for Southampton County.

“Providing forward-thinking organizations like Franklin Southampton Economic Development, Inc. a tool to support new growth by family-owned, farm-based businesses like Belmont Peanuts is one of the primary reasons the AFID fund was created,” said Governor Northam. “I am pleased to announce Southampton County’s first ever AFID award to assist with this expansion, and I congratulate Belmont Peanuts on its continued success and investment in Virginia.”

Belmont Peanuts, a family-owned and operated company, was founded in 1993 as a small mail-order business and has grown to a thriving peanut processing operation that sells a wide variety of savory, spiced and dessert-flavored gourmet peanuts through direct sales to customers and retail chains across the United States.

Belmont Peanuts is owned by the Marks family, who have been growing peanuts in Southampton County for generations. Many of the top-quality peanuts that the family grows are used in their products.

The company’s new facility will allow for increased production, improved efficiency and the ability to achieve even higher food safety certifications. The retail store will feature the entire array of Belmont Peanuts goods, along with sandwiches and other prepared foods featuring these products.

This new facility will open up space at the company’s current location, allowing them to install a new chocolate enrobing operation for their signature line of chocolate-covered peanut products.

“Belmont Peanuts of Southampton is proud to relocate and expand our manufacturing facility, remaining in the great agricultural community of Southampton County,” said the Marks family. “We believe that the relocation and expansion will allow our company the opportunity for future growth, as well as provide us with a distinct visual and logistical advantage. We are proud to work together with our local officials, investing in our community and in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Amanda Jarratt, with Franklin Southampton Economic Development, has been instrumental in handling many of our details. Her professional assistance has been invaluable.”

The Commonwealth is partnering with Southampton County, Franklin Southampton Economic Development, Inc. and Belmont Peanuts on this project through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund, which is administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS).

Governor Northam approved a $30,000 grant from the AFID Fund, which Southampton County will match with local funds. This is the first AFID award to Southampton County.