Month: October 2009

Why won’t Once Again produce raw Tahini?

The Question – Why do you produce raw almond butter and not produce raw sesame tahini butter?  Our customers frequently ask why we produce raw almond butter and not a raw sesame tahini.  Maybe you have wondered if there is a difference. There is clearly a difference in the size and thickness between almonds and sesames.  Even more than size and thickness, there is a huge difference between the moisture content and texture of an almond versus a sesame seed.  It is because of these differences that we are able to safely produce a raw almond butter, but are not able to safely produce a raw sesame tahini.

Our natural and organic almonds come from California.  The almonds are pasteurized as required by law.  Sesame seeds are not pasteurized; therefore, we have to kill the harmful bacteria by roasting the seeds.

We produce raw almond butter because we are able to dry almonds reducing the moisture content.  The drying process aids in converting the almonds into butter. If we didn’t dry the almonds first, the almonds would be nearly impossible to grind and would create butter with a similar consistency as children’s play dough.  Because almonds are thick, we are able to dry them without them becoming caramelized, as roasted almonds do.

We do not produce raw tahini because there is a health risk.  There have been numerous food recalls of raw sesame tahini butter in our industry.  The problem is not being able to remove enough moisture from the sesame seeds through a drying process.  To properly remove moisture, the seeds must be roasted at a high temperature over a long period of time.  Because sesames seeds are small and thin, it is nearly impossible to dry the seed without it becoming roasted.  It is our opinion that the only way for a sesame seed to be safely produced into tahini is by either drying or roasting.  Since drying is not possible, we roast our sesame seeds to create our tahini. 

Once Again Nut Butter feels responsible for providing our consumers with safe products that meet all quality and safety standards.

Stores Near You

Hi Everyone!  If you are in need of finding a store in  your area that sells our products, just email me the city name, state and zip code of your hometown.  While we don’t have stores everywhere, we do have stores all across the country and we are in most major areas of the country.  My email address is: of course you can simply respond to this post and I’ll contact you as well.  Have a great day!  Gael Orr, Branded Sales Coordinator

Understanding employee-ownership

 Look for our products in a store near you.  This is co-op month and stores around the country show their support by setting up end cap displays with products produced by co-ops.

 In celebration of co-op month, we thought we’d take a moment to tell you why co-ops are important. 

 In an employee-owned company, all the  employees are owners.  We come together in company meetings and everyone has a vote on how the  company is managed.  Our company meetings are held to address: company policies, operational issues, and financial  strategies.  Committees are also formed to help resolve issues, which are subject to a final company vote (1 person = 1 vote).

 The income that is generated in our business is distributed fairly. For example, a 3.5:1 compensation ratio of highest to lowest paid employees. Profit sharing bonuses are distributed equally to all owners.  And we have at least 3 employee owners sit on our Board of Directors.

 This is much different than in many  corporations where managers are making multimillion dollar salaries. Some of these companies we have recently seen in the media where they were asking the government for corporate bail-outs and often line workers were barely making a living wage or little care was considered for fair trade conditions of international partners.  

 Once Again is not hierarchical in our structure. The supply chain is   flatter and streamlined in the way that commodities are grown, purchased and distributed. Products are produced with a higher level of integrity because the employee shares ownership and they take pride in what they are producing. 

Our employee-owned company cares a great deal that our growers make a fair wage and we engage in fair trade practices.  We start co-ops in developing  countries helping to address issues of economic crisis and poverty.  We also engage in domestic fair trade practices supporting small  and rural farms and bee keepers making sure they receive a fair price for crops.

Mayor of El Sauce, Nicaragua Visits Once Again Nut Butter

On October 1, 2009: Rosa Valle Vargas, the mayor of El Sauce Nicaragua, took a tour of our company. She was

Nicaragua Mayor visits Once Again Co-op
Left to right: Lloyd Kirwan, Purchasing; Mayor Rosa Varguas; Bob Gelser, President of Once Again; and Tim McMahon, Nicaragua Liaison

impressed with the operations at Once Again Nut Butter and excited to think of the possibilities to work together to help some of the local producers in the El Sauce area.  Once Again Nut Butter currently sources it sesame seeds from our co-ops in Nicaragua to make Tahini.  In addition, we are currently in the process of Fair Trade Certification for these sesame seeds.