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A Better PB&J

I’m always keeping my ears open for
new stuff that makes my life easier – baby gear, good books,
brainy toys, or superfoods. About a month ago a girlfriend told me
about this small peanut butter company in her home state of
Vermont; apparently they made a really excellent peanut butter, but
put extra stuff in it that made it even better.

Like chocolate? I asked. Because we all know chocolate makes
everything better.

And the answer –yes, but more than that.

So I did some online research and was
impressed enough to contact the company directly. I ordered a
variety of different flavors – more on this later –
and, after receiving the shipment, doled out samples to several
girlfriends, enlisting the help of them and their kids as official

Here’s the results.

First, the skinny on the company. It’s called href="http://www.vtpeanutbutter.com" target="_blank">Vermont Peanut
Butter Company
, and they pride themselves on their
all-natural, organic ingredients. But they go beyond that –
they’ve come up with some peanut-butter add-ins that create a
kids’ superfood, if you will. In addition to the healthy
whole add-ins (like flax seed, dried cranberries, and pumpkin
seeds) they also put additional whey protein – think the
powdered protein in protein shakes – in several of their
flavors. A nutritionist told me that this additional protein helps
the body metabolize the peanut fat more efficiently, in addition to
simply being extra protein.

My pockets aren’t deep enough to try every flavor out there,
but in the interest of this blog (and sheer curiosity) I sampled
several kinds.

First, as a control, I bought the plain creamy peanut butter. I
usually buy grind-your-own at our local store here, so I already
eat something that’s a far cry from Jif. I found the plain
creamy to be quite yummy, and stayed fresh for the entire
week-and-a-half it took us to eat it. There was also no oil
separation, which is a definite plus in my book. Would I pay to
have it shipped across the country to me? I’d have to say no
– as I said, my pockets aren’t that deep. I would,
however, and will, suggest to local stores that they carry this
peanut butter, and could be persuaded to buy it instead of the
fresh-ground stuff I usually buy. If I found it on a local shelf,
I’d definitely pick it up, and all my testers agreed. But on
to the more exotic flavors.

The “href="http://www.vtpeanutbutter.com/vermontpb_017.htm"
target="_blank">Good Karma
” flavor is peanut butter
and dark chocolate. Reading the back label, I saw organic peanuts,
low-sodium sea salt, and semi-sweet chocolate. And that’s it.
I loved the Good Karma flavor, finding the chocolate to be
good-quality and not too overwhelming. I have to say that a friend
of mine thought it too sweet, but I think she’s crazy.
Ain’t no such thing. No, seriously, it seemed a good balance.
And not surprisingly, both my girls loved it as well.

The two “crazy” flavors I tried were the “href="http://www.vtpeanutbutter.com/vermontpb_021.htm"
target="_blank">Green Mountain Goddess
” and the
target="_blank">Mad River Mojo”. “Green
Mountain Goddess” is a blend of almond and peanut butters,
with flax seed and pumpkin seeds mixed in and of course, extra whey
protein. I found the pumpkin seed taste to be too strong, but had a
young tester who flipped over it, so with all the Omega 3s and
protein in it, I say go for it. The “Mad River Mojo”
turned out to be my hands-down favorite; another blend of almond
and peanut butters with the extra whey protein, it also has
cranberries, flax, and a bit of pure honey. Both my girls loved
this one and will eat it happily on crackers for a snack, and I
find myself spreading it on a rice cake for a deeply satisfying
mid-day pick-up. This product I would absolutely pay shipping for,
and it was so popular amongst my testers that I know others would
be placing an order with me.

There was one flavor I didn’t test and wish I had:
target="_blank">Champlain Cherry”. An almond butter
mixed with dark chocolate and cherries, this screams yummy snack on
crackers or even apple slices. And when I spoke with the owner
about longevity – the jars don’t come with a
“must refrigerate” label on them – he said
they’d keep just fine in the pantry up to 45 days, or can be
refrigerated for a longer, fresher taste. None of my jars lasted
that long, so I didn’t have a chance to test that theory.

Bottom line – I don’t have the funds for the more basic
flavors, but if you’re looking for a nutrition-packed snack
that the kids will love, check out their mixed flavors. You may
find yourself addicted as well.


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