Author: Gael Orr

Exploring the Softer Side of Killer Bees

by Nickolas Burr

For ages now, the term “killer bee” has struck fear into the hearts of the masses. Before we go any further, however, we might as well get the pop culture references out of the way. Nicholas Cage infamously battled these insects in the 2006 remake of Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man, while the Staten Island-bred Wu Tang Clan adopted the killer bee as their de facto mascot. When it comes to mean-spirited bugs, these creatures tend to top the list.

With all that being said, the killer bee, or Africanized Honey Bee, may be getting a raw deal. Really, the killer bee isn’t actually so different from your run-of-the-mill honey bee. Only DNA testing can determine the difference between these two subsects of the bee kingdom. Even the most skilled beekeepers are incapable of telling the two apart.

At this point you may be wondering what the difference is, if any, between these types of bees. Really, this distinction lies in the breeding process. The Africanized Honey Bee developed after an accidental cross between Tanzanian honey bee queens and standard European honey bee drones. Though killer bees are roughly 10 percent smaller than their forefathers, their venom is essentially identical in every way. Considering their slighter build, killer bee venom is actually distributed in smaller doses.

Anyway, Africanized honey bees began to appear on home turf after spreading from Brazil into Argentina, throughout Central America and then upward into the lower portions of the US. Nowadays, the two forms of bee comingle throughout much of the region.

Modern folks are finally starting to let their guard down, recognizing killer bees for what they really are. In fact, Once Again currently markets an organic killer bee honey that’s harvested by indigenous beekeepers of the Amazon. This product is purely organic, entirely gluten free and kosher. On top of all that, the sweet treat offers an unbelievable taste that you’ll simply love.

By keeping this honey raw, we’re able to preserves the natural vitamins and enzymes which come bundled with the honey. Raw honey is also Paleo-friendly, and offers the palate with hints of molasses, cinnamon and cocoa. If you currently classify yourself as a honey aficionado, it’s suggested that you drop what you’re doing and pick up a jar of this stuff today. While most standard honey will hit you with the right rush of sweetness, our raw killer bee product offers a depth of flavor that you’re not going to get anyplace else.Image

Once Again Nut Butter hires new Production Manager: Steve Blowers

Once Again Nut Butter, Inc.

About: Once Again Nut Butter,  a pioneer in the natural foods industry,  is an award winning employee-owned company that manufactures organic and natural nut butters, seed butters, roasted nuts and organic honey.

 

About Steve Blowers (Bio): I am from this area having been born and raised in LeRoy.  Between serving 6 years in the USMC and working many years in the automotive industry, my family and I have traveled and worked in several areas around the country including 10 years living in El Paso, TX while working in Juarez, Mexico.  My family and I decided to return to this area and I recently joined OANB.  I think I bring to OANB not only a wealth of experience from business disciplines such as purchasing, materials management, production, human resources and engineering but a continuous improvement mindset based in lean manufacturing.  I am married and have one daughter.

We asked, Steve:  What can you tell consumers that they’d be surprised to know about Once Again?  I know I was surprised to find out that this company located 50 miles south of Rochester had been in business for many years making nut and seed butters that  are found in groceries stores all over.  I have seen them in Wegmans in Rochester.  I have relatives in Michigan that saw OANB products on the shelf.  I spoke with a park ranger at the Mt. Morris dam that saw OANB product on the shelves of a store while on vacation in Hawaii.  Who would have thought?

Tell us more about you! Do you have any hobbies or interests?  I spend time trying to stay ahead of the curve in my craft by reading and studying management ‘experts’.  I like to read fiction and listen to books on tape (I drive more than 1 hour each way to work), I dabble in playing the guitar, I like to play golf, I have studied various martial arts for much of my life having achieved a 4th degree black belt, I exercise and do Tai Chi every day and I volunteer in various USMC veteran organizations.

What is the best part about working for Once Again?  The people.  The people that work in this company also own this company.  They care about the company and about each other.  I am fortunate to be in a position that provides me the opportunity to have an impact.  How could I not enjoy coming to work each and every day?

 What goals do you have as Production Manager for Once Again?  I want everyone to feel that they can express their beliefs, concerns and recommendations knowing that I am listening.  I want to help them develop processes to insure consistent, efficient, and long term production success in support of the growth of the business.  The people with whom I work are the experts in this business.  I am here to help them find their success which will translate into success for the company.

 What is your favorite Once Again product?  Old Fashioned Peanut Butter (although I am a big fan of oil roasted cashews).

 

In a Nutshell: What’s in Our Almond Butter’s Name Change?

Raw and lightly toasted

Our “Lightly Toasted” almond butter used to be called “Raw Almond Butter.” While we have changed the name, rest assured, we have not changed the recipe in any way. Our Lightly Toasted butter has the same great taste everyone loves. The single ingredient in Lightly Toasted Almond Butter remains almonds—and only almonds! So, why did we change the name?

When we introduced this product 12 years ago, “raw” did not have the same meaning as it does today. As you may know, most raw food enthusiasts prefer their food not to be heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit. We have not changed the way we make your favorite almond butter, and we still use the same processes that many “raw” nut butter manufacturers adhere to at this time. However, we feel calling this product “raw” no longer reflects the new industry standard of processing almonds below 115 degrees.

According to the FDA, the term “raw” does not have regulated definitions or meanings. Therefore, Once Again has followed industry standards. In 2008, many nut butter manufacturers (but not us) recalled their products because of several salmonella outbreaks; thus, the organic industry began to pasteurize almonds grown in the U.S.A.. Once Again Nut Butter purchases almonds from both California and Italy for our Lightly Toasted products.

To promote food safety, we put our raw almonds through a drying process that helps reduce food-borne bacteria. This drying process exceeds 115 degrees; for this reason, we decided to change the name of our Raw Almond Butters to Lightly Toasted. We believe this change is a more accurate reflection of our formerly designated “raw” almond butter products.
In nature, nuts and seeds are exposed to contaminants before they are harvested. We’ve recognized potential food safety issues associated with this reality and also have witnessed several recalls within our industry for products like raw tahini, raw cashew butter, and raw almonds. For our consumers’ well-being, we choose to put our almonds through a drying process as an extra measure of food safety.

We test both raw commodities and finished products before releasing nut butters to the public. In essence, we look to find balance among all of our customers’ health needs. Holistically, we endeavor to achieve nutritional harmony for all of our customers whether they are healthy, have compromised immune systems, or more sensitive digestive systems, as in the case of small children and the elderly. Therefore, we choose to provide safe quality foods in both roasted and raw commodities, meeting the food and nutrient needs of all of our customers, as well as, encompassing the highest level of food safety product testing.

Raw Almonds are dried for two reasons: to reduce harmful food-borne bacteria, and to reduce the moisture content in order to mill almonds into a smooth and creamy butter. Our raw almonds are processed minimally to provide an as-close-to-nature almond butter as we can create. The drying process for our almonds is higher than the temperature threshold set by individuals who are on a strict raw eating plan, again wherein cooking temperatures must register below 115 degrees. Consequently, our name change is a matter of clarity: we have decided to change our product name from Raw Almond Butter to Lightly Toasted to inform consumers about manufacturing processes and criteria in a more precise manner.
The difference between our Lightly Toasted and our traditional almond butter rests in the roasting process. In our traditional almond butter, almonds are roasted and heated until the almonds caramelize. Afterwards, these caramelized almonds are ground into butter to provide a robust, dark color and flavor. For our Lightly Toasted Almond Butter, almonds are simply dried then milled into a naturally sweet-tasting butter.

Try Vegan Nut Butter to Support a Vegan or Vegetarian Diet

One of the healthier life choices people can make, at least when it comes to food, is to go vegan. Although a vegan diet may not appeal to everyone, it can be a path to healthier living. Once Again Nut Butter’s selection of delicious and healthy vegan nut butters can add vitamins, minerals, and rich, decadent flavor to a vegan diet.

Like vegetarians, vegans don’t eat meat, but they also don’t consume other products that come from animals, like eggs or dairy products. A vegan diet consists mainly of plant-based foods, including whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Incorporating nut butter into a vegan diet for a source of healthy protein is likely to be a sensible option for many people.

Nut butters benefit a vegan diet

That’s why Once Again Nut Butter’s naturally vegan peanut butter—full of protein, vitamin E, fiber and magnesium—is a great choice to support a vegan or vegetarian diet. In addition to our peanut butter, Once Again Nut Butter also offers vegan nut butters like our almond butter and cashew butter. Our almond butter offers a great-tasting alternative for vegans with peanut allergies and provides many of the same nutrients as peanut butter. Cashew butter is another option for those with peanut allergies and includes nutrients like vitamin K, iron, zinc, phosphorus and potassium.

Check out our vegan nut butter in recipes

Our vegan nut butters can be used on a number of foods, including bread, cookies and snack bars. They can also be included in a number of vegan recipes available on our website!

If you’re looking for a delicious addition to your vegan or vegetarian diet, or if you just want to snack on something healthy, delicious, vitamin packed and indulgent, check out Once Again Nut Butter’s variety of delicious nut butters! Available in creamy and crunchy, natural and organic varieties, we have a nut butter for every taste and preference!

America’s Love Affair with the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Lives On

By Maria Jacketti

 

                 American children have clamored for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for more than a century.  During the heyday of the 20th century, as in the 1960s, when I was a child, this sandwich typically comprised a tutti-frutti combo we all knew by heart:  Take white bread, about two dollops of peanut butter and a good splish of really sweet jelly, usually but not necessarily, Concord grape.  Spread it all atop the slices, and then press them together into the ultimate kindergarten and hullabaloo of all sandwiches, which of course, many adults loved and still do, either secretly, or like me, with brazen abandon.

   Today, we spread those prairies of peanut butter across many splendid breads, multi-grain, oatmeal, cinnamon raisin, homemade or artisan loaves that reflect the creativity inherent in a work of pure and simple nourishment.  I have not outgrown peanut butter, and never will, but I have transcended white bread, well, for the most part.  Okay — I’m not too proud to dive into a loaf of pillowy, cloud bread when nostalgia calls.  After all, peanut butter is really packing all the nutritional muscle in the old sandwich, which lives in the museum of the American mind.  

           Yes, glorious goober butter is a culinary paradox, lending itself lusciously to both sweet – and savory renditions of the classic sandwich.  I’m thinking now of the spiced tomato or alligator-colored jalapeño jellies we made several summers ago. And let’s not forget Vidalia onion jam, which marries peanut butter best on an Everything Bagel. Peanut butter is a magnet for spice.  But how did the Earl of Sandwich’s favorite creation ever find its stick-to-the-roof-of-your- mouth soul-mate?

           The history of almost everyone’s favorite sandwich is a little obscure.  We know that around the 1880s housewives were using meat grinders to make their own peanut paste.  That had to be laborious, and the difficulty of making homemade peanut butter, probably led to its reputation in the early 1900s, as a delicacy, yes, served with jelly in fine tea rooms (as opposed to loud lunch rooms).  In fact, the 1904, World’s Fair established PB&J as a lavish, must- have sandwich for the beautiful people, rather than food for the grassroots folk.  During those days of old fashioned, long courtships, a jar of peanut was both rare and prized, as in “Dear, I could not afford a diamond, but would you accept this jar of peanut butter and be my wife?”

           In the background, you might hear collective swooning and giddy violins, “Why yes, dear.  Only my truest love could bring me such a treasure.”

           And they lived happily ever after, in a land of lip-smacking, peanut butter kisses.

 Of course, some things have changed.  And I would not advise peanut butter trumping diamonds to secure a relationship now.

           The American palate was still decades away from peanut butter’s ascension to every day American plate, and wildly imaginative, and not always so healthful inventions, such as Elvis Presley’s deep- fried peanut butter banana and bacon sammy.  

           Mechanization soon helped make peanut affordable, and as time the century progressed, very economical. (The invention of sliced bread in the 1920s also helped the sandwich to gain popularity.)  Suddenly, the opulent peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the darling of tea circles, became fast food and a soul’s banquet for the hungry masses.

           As the country approached mid-century, the need for hearty sustenance grew ever greater.  During the Great Depression, meat became the new delicacy, just as peanut butter, just decades earlier had been a health food spread priced just for the rich, or those willing to cough up fat pennies for a culinary splurge.  Many Americans turned to the peanut butter and jelly sandwich to source their daily protein, as the spread now cost less than the animal-derived varieties. 

As the country entered World War II, and rationing became the norm for many staples, peanut butter remained abundant, and blessedly available to the average American.  Even soldiers drew strength and comfort from a sandwich that was now a tradition in most homes.  The American indispensable, peanut butter, was not subject to rationing.  Instead, it became a symbol of unwavering plenty.

           Today, the world of peanut butter is vast.  And while peanut butter and purple grape jelly may be your favorite in its most familiar form, you also may want to try a few newer versions.

           Take Elvis’ favorite, which I’ve renamed “The Heartbreak Hotel.”  This sandwich can be reinvented by using low fat bacon, such as turkey, or veggie bacon — my favorite.   Dip the sandwich in a  and egg whites flavored with cinnamon and vanilla, and you can have a healthy stuffed French toast version of the Elvis “Heartbreak Hotel,” either grilled on the stove top or baked in medium oven, let’s say at 350 degrees, for about 15 minutes.

           Or you may want to get gussied up for a garden party and serve “The Pimento,” derived from one of the first New York tea room sandwiches, peanut butter and pimento, crusts cut off, and served in neat circles and triangles.  Use fine bread, for example, elegant and firm white, a bread with some backbone – sorry, trampoline bread (the springy kind) just won’t work for these.  Spread with peanut butter, and then add pimento cream cheese.  The jelly can be a bit tricky with this one, but either cherry, or mint work well.  Add a flourish of alfalfa sprouts, and if it’s summertime, and your nasturtiums are in bloom, top with a flurry of the petals, which become a peppery garnish.

           Finally, if you are like me today, stranded in the middle of winter and dreaming of a tropical island, “The Piña and Peanut Butter  Colada” is easy and full of sunshine.  Spread peanut butter on Sweet Hawaiian bread (or a Hawaiian roll), top with toasted coconut and pineapple jelly or fruit spread.  Raisin bread also works well with this treat.

           While peanut butter and jelly sandwiches certainly formed a part of my childhood, my most intense memory of their sustenance happened during the 9th month of my only pregnancy, nearly twenty years ago.  As the time to have the baby approached, I slept most of the time.  While cooking is one of my passions, I had not even the energy to boil water, as I awaited this great moment.  My husband had to work all day, and we were hundreds of miles away from any family who might make me a traditional meal.  So my breakfasts, lunches, and snacks consisted uniquely of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!  During that month, I probably downed a hundred of them.

           I ended up having a very healthy baby, one who still loves this classic sandwich and makes one almost every day.  The tradition lives on with giggles and jewel-jellied faces, in most American kitchens, for as you might have guessed, our prototype, Miss America (having doffed her Victorian corset) married the love of her life, the Peanut Butter Prince, and together they created the chow – and the ambrosia — of a great nation.

  

Maria Jacketti is co-founder of Mountain Laurel Consultants, a professional writing company based in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.

 

 

World Fair Trade Day

May 10, 2014

Nearly 1,000 World Fair Trade Day events  are planned around the USA and Canada.  Hundreds of Fair Trade festivals, fashion shows, speeches, food and drink tastings, film showings, sports games, neighborhood crawls, spa nights, concerts, and other events in North America have been announced to promote Fair Trade and campaigns for trade justice together with farmers, workers, and artisans around the world. Once Again is one of the major sponsors of the World Fair Trade Day events and activities that take place nationally.  The goal is to promote Fair Trade and campaign for trade justice together with farmers, workers, and artisans.   To learn more about World Fair Trade Day click here: http://www.ftrn.org/wftd/  The Fair World Project also has put together a great informational video that is just 6 minutes long and is worth watching.  http://fairworldproject.org/overview/fair-trade/fair-world-project-presents-free-trade-vs-fair-trade/

 

GMO Labeling Movement in NY, On February 5, 2014

So, yesterday, I put out a heck of a food fight in Albany. I met with senators, assembly-persons and their aides to discuss labeling foods that have been genetically-engineered. Maybe you don’t know why you should care? Maybe you never thought about it one way or the other? After my first visit to Nicaragua, I became aware of the significant environmental impact on pesticides and our food system. After seeing 6,000 banana workers protesting for, literally, 6 years, even protesting with their dead bodies the dangers of pesticides on bananas and the cancers they were creating, I got saddened. Those feelings were compounded when I saw the sugar cane workers protesting next to them. Why? Because when the banana workers abandoned their fields, the sugar cane farmers took over the land and became sick with every kind of cancer, too!

How does this pertain to genetically-engineered (GE) foods? Because it is taking more and more pesticides used on our foods to deal with the super-weeds genetically-engineered food is creating! In addition, the pesticides that are being used on genetically-engineered foods, and our other foods are getting more toxic. In Nicaragua, Nemegon was used on the food supply, which is molecularly similar to the Agent Orange, used in the Vietnam Conflict. There is now talk that similar pesticides such as 2,4-D (also a component of Agent Orange) will be used on genetically-engineered foods here in the USA!

Genetically-engineered foods, or GMOs, are making farmers use up-to 15x more pesticides to deal with super weeds. It is now being discovered there are serious health risks to consumers who eat GMOs. The average person eats 150 pounds of GE/GMO foods every year!!! In this country, our food labels do not reveal GMO food ingredients. I believe that everyone has the right to know this information. This information is just as important as knowing the foods’ country of origin or kosher status.
All of this is to say, I spent my day lobbying Albany yesterday. If you would like to learn more about GMOs, here is a great little article for you. And please, I encourage you to sign petitions and write letters stating that you believe you have the right to know what is in your food, and what you are feeding your children. http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/03/opinion/schubert-gmo-labeling/index.html

While in Albany, the Rochester Bee Keeper’s Association also spoke up about Colony Collapse Disorder, as it relates to bees but also the killing off of the Monarch butterflies, which are also pollinators.  Increases in insecticide use are rapidly killing off the bee population.  Over sixty-percent of all of our foods are pollinated by bees.  Their representative, Will Demuth informed us that, in China, due to the killing off of pollinating bees, people are hand pollinating fruit trees and other plants. (https://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/5193).

It’s clear to me that Once Again Nut Butter is doing important work in going through the Non GMO verification process and taking a stand on proper labeling of foods.   Sign the petition for New York’s labeling of GMO’s http://syracusegreens.nationbuilder.com/gmo_label_nys#_=_

By Gael Orr, Communications Manager

Enjoy Nut Butter and a New You in 2014

If you’re like many people, you began the New Year with at least a few goals related to healthier living, and perhaps even weight loss. Before those goals melt away in your chocolate infused Valentine’s Day revelry, you might consider a few foods to indulge in without feeling guilty afterward. In fact, our delicious, satisfying nut butters can be a part of your effort to meet your fitness goals, whether you are looking for healthy snack alternatives or energy-boosting fuel for your workouts.

Natural or organic, crunchy or smooth, our nut butters can satisfy your craving while providing you with rich nutrients. Here is a brief glimpse of just a few of the many benefits of our favorite nut butters:

Natural & Organic Peanut Butter

  • A source of protein and vitamin E
  • Provides magnesium, folate & dietary fiber
  • For less sodium, No Salt Peanut Butter is available
  • Our Peanut Butter is vegan and naturally gluten free – like all of our nut butters!

Natural & Organic Almond Butter

  • Contains phosphorus, potassium & magnesium
  • A source of vitamin E
  • Rich in protein and high in fiber
  • Delicious alternative to peanut butter for those with peanut allergies

Natural & Organic Cashew Butter

  • A source of phosphorus, potassium & magnesium
  • High in protein and vitamin K
  • Contains Iron & Zinc
  • Another great alternative for those with peanut allergies

Whether you enjoy nut butter spread on your favorite whole grain bread, featured in scrumptious cookies and bars, or any number of other ways, keep this nutritional information in mind and enjoy your snack while reaping the benefits of nutritious nut butters!

Nutritional information from the USDA National Nutrient Database.

American Diabetes Association, Tour de Cure

Sunday, June 2, 2013 is this year’s Tour de Cure to be held at Rochester Institute of Technology. We are participating in 3 Tour de Cures this year.  In addition, the Finger Lakes and Syracuse Tour de Cure events are being sponsored by Once Again Nut Butter. These important events raise millions of dollars annually for the American Diabetes Association. We support these events by supplying nut butters to the thousands of bicyclists that participate each year. All riders get our brochure, coupons, and our temporary tattoo of Rocky Raccoon riding his bike. Each cyclist is responsible for raising $150.00 to ride in the event. Distances range from 7 miles up to 100 miles.

 

Corporate Challenge

The Corporate Challenge started 37 years ago when 50 companies   gathered in Central Park, New York to race. Today, the race has become a worldwide event, is held in cities such as Singapore,  Johannesburg, and yes, Rochester, New York. Ed Soback, Raymond Halter, Bryan Fritz, Randy “Bacon” Bratcher, Kim Moriarty, Debbie Willett, and Gael Orr all participated in the corporate challenge at Rochester Institute of Technology. The Corporate Challenge sends a message that physical fitness is important. Participating companies use the races as a platform to promote fitness in the work place.