Good & Gooey: Peanut Butter & Co.

Goodlifer: Good & Gooey: Peanut Butter & Co.

I tell you, these kids today don’t know how good they have it. Why, when I was their age, not only did I have to walk to school (uphill both ways), but peanut butter was just peanut butter. You had your smooth, you had your chunky; that was all she wrote. Nowadays, Peanut Butter & Co. ensures that young’uns (and their parents) have a delightful range of flavorful peanut butters from which to choose. How about The Heat Is On, a peanut butter with chili powder, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, and paprika, to liven things up a bit?

Goodlifer: Peanut Butter & Co's Cinnamon Raisin Swirl, Mighty Maple & Crunch Time flavors.

Peanut Butter & Co’s Cinnamon Raisin Swirl, Mighty Maple & Crunch Time flavors.

If you’d rather have a little sweetness with your peanut butter, you’ll find Cinnamon Raisin Swirl, Dark Chocolate Dreams, and more. And purists, don’t despair. “Plain” smooth and crunchy peanut butters (each available in no-stir as well as old-fashioned types) are also on offer. I like these flavored peanut butters because you can taste each element. It’s all about the balance, and no one taste overwhelms the other flavors in these blends.

Goodlifer: Peanut Butter & Co's White Chocolate Wonderful, Dark Chocolate Dreams & Smooth Operator flavors.

Peanut Butter & Co’s White Chocolate Wonderful, Dark Chocolate Dreams & Smooth Operator flavors.

There’s been another change since I was a youngster. Back then, nobody had heard about carbon footprint, and recycling was all but unknown. But Peanut Butter & Co. is in tune with the modern era. All of the peanuts used to manufacture their products come from within a 150 mile radius of their manufacturing plant. In fact, the company relocated their production facility from New York to Georgia specifically so the peanuts wouldn’t have to travel long-distance. Several years ago, this business switched from glass jars to those made from recyclable PETE plastic containers, cutting down greatly on the weight of shipments and deliveries (this reduces the amount of gasoline required to move the peanut butter from factory to warehouse to retailers). And they have just partnered with Terracycle, an organization devoted to recycling waste by making it into consumer products.

Peanut Butter & Co., on 240 Sullivan Street in NYC's Greenwich Village. Photo by meltingnoise, Creative Commons.

Peanut Butter & Co., on 240 Sullivan Street in NYC’s Greenwich Village. Photo by meltingnoise, Creative Commons.

Peanut Butter & Co. founder Lee Zalben, who opened the Greenwich Village peanut buttery in 1998, has been called many names — The Peanut Butter Guy, Mr. Fluffernutter, and his personal favorite, The Godfather of Peanut Butter. The big peanut butter recall last year was hard for the company, but Zalben says they saw it as an opportunity as well. “We took a look at our entire operation and tried to find any places where we could do a better job when it comes to product safety. While we’ve always followed the American Peanut Council’s GMP’s (Good Manufacturing Practices) we’ve added extra tests on raw ingredients and finished product, more plant inspections, and increased record keeping to make sure that we are doing absolutely everything possible to produce a safe and wholesome product, and to make sure that if anything bad ever does happen, we have all the information we need close at hand.”

Goodlifer: Peanut Butter & Co Rip-Roaring Raspberry Preserve, Gorgeous Grape Jelly, Seriously Strawberry Jam & Awesome Apricot Preserve.

Most small companies would have stopped at flavored peanut butters, but not Peanut Butter & Co. Check out their jams and jellies; snacks (including Barbecue Roasted Peanuts and Peanut Butter Pretzels); Baking Mixes (the Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies are milk’s true soulmate); and gear. If you have a friend who’s a peanut butter freak, consider one of the gift assortments. You can even support the cycling team! There’s a list of retail stores on the site, but of course you can also purchase online. Get all the details at (the brilliantly named) ilovepeanutbutter.com. Check out Zalben’s blog on Serious Eats and, if you’re very serious about your peanut butter, click home a copy of the Peanut Butter & Co. Cookbook (with a foreword by Jerry Seinfeld).

About author
Stephanie Zonis was born with a spoon in her mouth — a tasting spoon, that is. She began cooking (especially baking) at a very early age, and for a short time even ran a highly illegal baking business from her long-suffering parents’ house when she was in high school. After acquiring a Master’s Degree in Foods, she eventually discovered the Internet in 1997. She’s been writing about food and developing recipes, especially where chocolate is involved, ever since. During those few moments when she’s not cooking or writing or thinking about food, Stephanie enjoys reading, walking, political discussions, and volunteering at a local no-kill cat sanctuary. She has been a member of a medieval re-creation group for longer than she’ll admit and loves absurdist humor.
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  1. I’m the Development Director for Verona Street Animal Society which is a non profit supporting Rochester Animal Services. Our shelter uses quite a lot of peanut butter for dog enrichment. Is there any opportunity for you to donate your products for this purpose? Possibly products past their sell by date or excess inventory?

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