The A.P. reports too many nuts in U.S.:

Right now, the United States has too many peanuts and that, experts say, could be bad news for the peanut commodity program unless something is done to whittle down the piles.

“We’re afraid if we cost the government a lot of money, we’ll get less in the next farm bill,” said Tyron Spearman, executive director of the National Peanut Buying Points Association.

Some 215,000 tons of peanuts are still unsold from the 2004 crop and agricultural officials predict growers will produce another 2.3 million tons this year, Spearman said.

Despite recent growth in peanut consumption, Americans use only about 1.6 million tons a year and another 300,000 to 400,000 tons are exported.

That leaves a surplus of about 485,000 tons.

As much as nature hates a vacuum, does it hate it enough for a consumer product called peanut milk to come to the rescue? That’s right, peanut milk. From Joe Kissell’s Interesting Thing Of The Day:

The story goes like this. Jack Chang, who along with his wife Margaret owns a tiny burger joint/coffee shop called the KK Cafe, loved peanuts. But due to chronic gum disease he was unable to chew them, so he set about making a drink that would enable him to enjoy his peanuts in convenient liquid form. It took him months to get the recipe just right, but being a frugal person he felt obliged to drink all the failed batches. As he consumed increasing amounts of this concoction, he noticed that he felt more energetic, his allergies cleared up, and his gums returned to health. He even stopped losing his hair. There could be no other explanation than his peanut drink—well, that and God, but I’m getting ahead of myself—so the couple began recommending the stuff to all of their customers suffering from various kinds of ailments. Sure enough, this person’s arthritis went away, that person’s skin rash healed, and soon testimonials were pouring in and word began to spread that the Changs had invented a cure-all in the form of a tasty peanut drink.

What Chang calls “peanut milk” is a nondairy product made primarily from ground peanuts and water, with some sugar, other grains, and a few herbs and spices. Interestingly, it tastes almost exactly like a mixture of ground peanuts, water, and sugar—which is to say, in my humble opinion, kind of gross. It was all I could do to get through a single 8-oz. (240ml) bottle—and remember, I’m speaking as a peanut lover here. Other people clearly differ in their opinion of the flavor, consuming, in some cases, several quarts per day. Or perhaps they’re too enthusiastic about its supposed health benefits to concern themselves with taste. In all fairness, it does certainly taste much better than, for example, a mixture of cough syrup, castor oil, and spirulina, to pick three ingredients completely at random.

Chang’s peanut milk is sold under the brand name of “Signs and Wonders” and any doubts you have as to its healthful properties will be assuaged by a single glance at Signs and Wonders’ glowing spokesmodel.

Call it a sign, and wonder..

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