Horace Fisher, Gleaner Writer
MAY PEN, Clarendon:IT IS impossible to miss him: short locks, a scar on one side of the face, pushing a whistling peanut cart emblazoned with red, green and gold symbolic colours in and around May Pen selling hot peanuts.
Meet Jamaica's most accomplished hot peanut vendor: 39-year-old Ralston Irving.
The peanut vendor, who has been selling nuts from his school days at Cambridge Secondary in St James from where he hails but now lives and sells in Clarendon, bragged to The Gleaner that he now has May Pen's hot peanuts market in his pocket.
Irving also said he sold the hot nuts all over the island at some of Jamaica's biggest entertainment events - Sting, Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, Rebel Salute, St Mary Mi Come From, Sumfest.
"A nuff years now me a sell hot peanut. From me a go a Cambridge Secondary me big brother give me some peanut to sell to help with my schooling, and from that time me nuh look back."
Irving said his $50 and $100 hot nuts sell faster than the proverbial hot bread, and the business has afforded him the ability to take care of his wife and five children. He scoffed at imported peanuts, when asked how they affected his business, and admitted that he sold over six bushels of the nuts every three days.
"Not even hot bread nuh sell fast like my $50 and $100 bills nuts. As me touch the road, them just sell off like 1-2-3, and every three days a six bushel a hot nuts me sell right here in May Pen. Imported peanuts? Cho! A hot peanut build my house, take care of my woman and five youths," the self-proclaimed 'hot peanuts king' said.
Giving away his trade secret, Irving said his nuts were baked in a temperature-controlled oven to prevent overbaking as against manually pan-roasting the nuts.
"If you have the best product in the world and your attitude isn't right, the product gonna stuck on you, so me deal with my customers on a respectable level, so anywhere them see me, a just 'Nutsy' them a shout fah because what I sell is ovenbaked and not overprocessed, but fresh and more sanitary," he disclosed.
Irving added: "Me a Jamaica's most-wanted peanut man. You a look pon Jamaica's hot peanut's king."