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Peanuts Lighten Up

Peanuts Lighten Up

Peanut Butter

We love peanut butter. It was the first product sold by Tengu and has remained ever since. Same supplier, same beautiful taste but to live is to change. Our peanut butter is still from the same maker. It is still organic and it still tastes great. It isn’t the same as it was, however, and here is a Q&A with the maker to explain why:

What happened?

Growing organic peanuts in the USA collapsed.    Only organics have become extinct in the US; Conventional peanuts are still a huge US crop. Organic cotton grows in same soil,  is much easier and more money can be made  ( organic cotton price is up strongly).    Until organic farmers feel they need to grow peanuts again they will not grow them. There are way too many more crops that are way easier to grow than peanuts.

Why did you leave skins on?   why are skins off now?

With the creation of an organic peanut market in the USA there was no way to remove the skins. The small peanut processors had no blanchers so we ground the peanuts skin and all. Now with organic peanuts from Argentina and their huge organic peanut industry, they are shelled by some pretty large producers. With the USA not growing any organic peanuts, we must import them and it is easier to import without the skins.

A second good reason is that removing the skins dramatically reduces the risk of aflatoxin.

How is nutrition different between the two types?

  • We believe there is no nutritional difference

Why is the new PB so much soupier?

  • We believe there isn’t much difference. The valencia peanuts were soupy at times. It all depends on the oil content of the nut.

Why is it so much lighter?    I assume no skins.

  • Correct. No skins make it lighter.

Any chance of Valencia coming back?

  • No time soon, if at all.

What were market comments in USA when you made the switch?

  • We have only received positive comments. I think that with the organic industry moving into the mass market “large grocery” the consumers are a new generation. A generation who is accustomed to eating Skippy and will buy organic if there is not much difference. I  feel the older generation who has always eaten organic “valencia” definitely notice the difference but in a positive way.

BACKGROUND

Runner Peanuts (current peanut butter)

Since 1940, the southeastern U.S. region has seen a shift to production of Runner group peanuts. This shift is due to good flavor, better roasting characteristics and higher yields when compared to Spanish types leading to food manufacturers’ preference for their use in peanut butter and salted nuts. Georgia’s production is now almost 100% Runner type.

Valencia Peanuts (previous peanut butter)

Valencia Group peanuts are coarse, and they have heavy reddish stems and large foliage. In the U.S., large commercial production is primarily in the south plains of west Texas and eastern New Mexico near and south of Portales, New Mexico, but they are grown on a small scale elsewhere in the South as the best flavored and preferred type for boiled peanuts.  This type is used heavily for sale roasted and salted in-shell peanuts and peanut butter.

FOOTNOTE

Tengu Natural Foods and Alishan were founded on peanut butter.    Jack has spent his life eating peanut butter.

“Where ever I have gone I sampled local blends.  I fondly recalling peanut butter made  in Sudan, Uganda, Indonesia and Australia.   All good,  the Ugandan very good  but none as good as American.

I have a souvenir jar from when we first imported  PB  to Japan ( 1987).   Years ago Fay and I made a pilgrimage to Tuskegee Institute to pay homage to George Washington Carver the “inventor” or “father”  of modern American PB

I love our PB and I have been enjoying  it since the early 70’s.  Sadly it has changed.

Why?    Due to the price of cotton.     Cotton and organic peanuts share the same environment.   The price farmers get for organic cotton is so high that OANB’s organic peanut farmers have switched to just cotton.

This was not good news for our maker Once Again Nut Butter.   They have prided themselves on their  organic peanuts with the skins still on that they made into wonderful  butter

They always used special Valencia peanuts from New Mexico for our butter.   But they are no more.  Now they are using   “runner” style peanuts from Argentina.   USDA/NOP organic certified  but sadly it is different than what we are all used to.

If the farmers come back we want to switch back to our original peanut.   We will keep you posted.”

by Kay