Happy National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, when the lunch crowd’s encouraged to take a break from the usual factory farmed deli meats to enjoy a yummy, lower-carbon PB&J sandwich.
I wanted to make my peanut butter and jelly sandwich as eco-friendly as possible — so I stopped by my local farmers’ market on Wednesday to prep. There, I picked up a chewy sourdough Date Pecan bread from Bezian’s Bakery, and discovered Olallieberry Jam thanks to Marcie’s Garden from Santa Ynez. If you’re not familiar with olallieberries — and I wasn’t, until Wednesday — these sweet-tart berries bring the best of the blackberry and raspberry together.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find peanut butter, or any other nut butter, at the Farmers’ Market — so I stopped by a Whole Foods. Keeping with the locavoring theme, I first picked up a jar from Santa Cruz Organic — but noticed that the back didn’t say anything about where the peanuts were grown.
So I called the toll free number on the back to reach a nice, helpful guy in the customer service center — who told me not only that the peanuts are definitely not grown in the west (he said they probably come from one of the Southern states, like Georgia), but also that Santa Cruz Organic isn’t even a California company!
The forthright fellow let me know that the name “Santa Cruz Organic” likely came as a marketing decision — because Santa Cruz Organic is actually owned by Smuckers and based in Ohio! I was shocked by this stealthy marketing — but also very impressed with the customer service representative’s honesty!
To see if I could get a nut butter produced closer to California, I called up Maranatha, which is owned by Hain Celestial. However, I was kept on hold for so long I gave up. I now see from Maranatha’s website that the company makes its peanut butter in Oregon, though where the peanuts are grown is unclear.
In the end, I ended up just getting the Whole Foods brand, whose packaging said the peanuts were grown in the U.S. Once I got home I regretted the purchase though. Why does Whole Foods add sugar to perfectly good peanut butter?
But my delicious farmers’ market bread and jam made for a tasty sandwich nonetheless. Curious about the organic brands you often buy? Mich. State Prof. Phil Howard’s put together a nice chart of organic and natural brands — and the corporations that own them.
What are you eating this PB&J day?