Georgia Magazine - August 2020 - 23

Georgians AT WORK

By Helen Newling Lawson

Brad
Hardy

LAURA LYN COODY

Ken
Hardy

Hardy cousins will work for peanuts

"F

irst of all, it's a family farm."
That's how Ken Hardy sets
about describing Hardy Farms
Peanuts in Hawkinsville.
Ken and Brad Hardy are part of the
third generation to work at the familyowned business in 70-plus years. As first
cousins and classmates from kindergarten
through graduation from the University of
Georgia in Athens, their shared upbringing has made for a close and collaborative
working relationship.
The pair was originally charged with
expanding the company's operations into
the boiled peanut market. They started by
opening roadside boiled peanut stands
around their home base in Middle Georgia
in the late 1990s.
Since then, the Hardys have added
more than 25 peanut stands to the business-and solved the mystery of who their
biggest fans are.
"If little kids had their own money,
we'd be multimillionaires. They go bananas
for boiled peanuts!" Ken Hardy says.

As Brad Hardy remembers, "we
had pretty good success with the boiled
peanuts, but as everybody knows, it's a
Southern product." To bring their products to a wider audience, they next moved
into the roasted peanut business.
"We joke that roasted peanuts
opened the world to us, [but] it really has,"
he says. They now supply an international
market with oil- and dry-roasted peanut
ingredients for products like candies and
nut butters. "We've got trucks going out
every day to different parts of the country.
We send peanuts to Europe, Mexico and
Canada."
Other innovations followed. A secret
technique for extending the shelf life of
their boiled green peanuts allowed them
to bring their flagship product to supermarket shelves.

And then there are the company's
innovative new products, like dill pickleflavored peanuts. They won first place in
the snack food category in the University
of Georgia's Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest last year and are part of the
company's retail line of roasted peanuts.
Despite the work involved with
expanding both their product line and
their market reach, the company and
family have remained closely knit. Ken
admits with a laugh that "family members are quick to call you out; there's a
humility that comes with [working in a
family business]. Working together keeps
you close and builds bonds that wouldn't
be there if you weren't seeing each other
every day."
Helen Newling Lawson is a freelance
writer living in Forsyth County.

To find out more about the Hardy Farms lineup of peanut products, call (888) 368-6887 or visit
hardyfarmspeanuts.com. For a list of the company's boiled peanut stands,
see hardyfarmspeanuts.com/locations.
www.georgiamagazine.org

23


http://www.hardyfarmspeanuts.com http://www.hardyfarmspeanuts.com/locations http://www.georgiamagazine.org

Georgia Magazine - August 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - August 2020

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Georgia Magazine - August 2020 - Contents
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