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A Better PB&J Print E-mail
Monday, 20 September 2010

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 tasters.

Here’s the results.

First, the skinny on the company. It’s called 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 “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 “Green Mountain Goddess” and the “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: “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.

Written by Abby on 2010-09-23 16:55:53 IP:
We all like the Champlain Cherry and the kids the Good Karma. We ordered a few others, but haven't cracked open the jars, yet. Good Karma got two tired kids out of bed the second week of school. Toast with peanut butter and chocolate? Yup. They leaped out of bed. Still have yet to try the others. Next time we are in VT, we'll be picking up more.
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