By STACEY PATTON WALLACE
What is your favorite nut? If this seems like a weird introductory question, you will understand a few paragraphs from now.
Without a doubt, my favorite nut is the pecan. Before my sweet Aunt Jenny (Virginia Patton Daugherty) went to be with the Lord, she made one of my favorite snacks: toasted pecans.
When the Fearsome Foursome (Mama, Daddy, Aunt Jenny and Aunt Betty) took their yearly trip to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, to enjoy the majestic Great Smoky Mountains, they would bring Piggly Wiggly grocery sacks filled with all kinds of junk food. Aunt Jenny’s toasted pecans were the only healthy food that made the trip. However, the salt and squeeze margarine used on the pecans negated a lot of their nutritional value.
When Daddy could no longer drive, Mike took over the job, and, as usual, Aunt Jenny toasted those delicious pecans for us, too. As we were traveling up to the Volunteer State, the Fearsome Foursome asked me to pass the coveted plastic bag full of toasted pecans to them. Mike and I had eaten about a handful each, so I sent the bag to our four favorite octogenarians.
When the bag came back to us, we were shocked to see that it was half empty. Those sweet folks, whose appetites were very light compared to ours, had gone through those pecans like Sherman through Georgia. But I digress.
Awhile back, I received an email from my boss Michelle Key. A lady had contacted her, requesting that I come to the Angel Fire Gourmet Nut Company and write about it. Therefore, Mike and I traveled to Angel’s Antique and Flea Mall at 900 Columbus Parkway in Opelika because the nut company is located in the back of the store.
When Mike and I entered the building, an amazing aroma of roasting nuts quickly drew us to the Angel Fire Gourmet Nut Company. Mike and I loved the signs, “This is what smells so good!” and “Welcome to the nut house.”
Frank Davis, the owner of the Angel Fire Gourmet Nut Co., was really friendly, and we enjoyed talking to him. He definitely has the personality for sales. Davis said that his nut company has been in the back of Angel’s Antique for approximately 22 years. According to Davis, he and his wife Rhonda used to live in Angel Fire, New Mexico, so they named their business after the town where it got its start.
Davis said, “This is the most fun I’ve had in a job. I am the nut guy.” Davis said that he loves meeting people, and besides local customers, he has had customers from Australia, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, England and Sweden.
In addition, Davis is loyal to other businesses. “I try to locally source my pecans at Opelika Farmer’s Market and in Troy,” he said. Besides selling pecans, my personal favorite, Davis also sells cashews, almonds and peanuts, which can be chocolate-covered, hot salted or sweet Cajun.
Also, Angel Fire Gourmet Nut Co. sells muffins, moon pies, popcorn, peanut brittle, frozen fruit smoothies, espresso, hot chocolate, lemonade and tea. Customers may also enjoy free samples of almonds, pecans, cashews and peanuts.
Davis said that the salted caramel pecans were his bestseller. I believe him. I chose a quarter-pound of the salted caramel pecans, and Mike selected a quarter-pound of the caramel vanilla pecans. They were too delicious for words. In fact, I scarfed mine down in about 24 hours.
Trust me: Run and do not walk to Angel Fire Gourmet Nut Company in Angel’s Antique.
You’ll go nuts. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.
The Angel Fire Gourmet Nut Company is open Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The business is closed Monday through Wednesday.
The Angel Fire Gourmet Nut Company makes the grade with an A+ from this retired English teacher. Remember, “Pooh-sized” people NEVER lie about food. Enjoy.
Stacey Patton Wallace, who retired from teaching language arts for 30 years, is a professional diner. Her column, “Making the Grade,” will appear every other week in The Observer. Stacey may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.