Small batch nut butters by Big Spoon Roasters
Big Spoon Roasters has been on my short list of things to shoot for a little while now. After years of visiting restaurants to shoot on location for the predecessor of this website (Spoonfed Raleigh), I was looking forward to breaking in my new studio space with some table top shooting and Big Spoon’s small jars were the perfect practice run subjects. I had heard of Big Spoon Roasters through many of the other local Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill foodie connections. You can find them frequently at the Carrboro Farmers Market and a quick look at their website can provide you with some local purveyors that carry their product.
Every Jar of Big Spoon Roasters Nut Butters is created with Purpose…
…and that purpose is much larger than themselves as a company. Big Spoon Roasters prides themselves on flavor, craftsmanship, and their pursuit of redefining how the production of a food product should be handled. At the foundation of each jar is flavor. Big Spoon Roasters has created their nut butters by following a simple plan: Begin with the best ingredients and cultivate symbiotic relationships with local growers to maintain the quality. They use North Carolina grown Runner variety of peanuts and local wildflower honey. Each batch of nut butters is roasted by hand, every jar is filled by hand as well as labeled by hand and is bestowed a recorded batch number so that Big Spoon Roasters can keep track of every one of their creations. Every Big Spoon Roaster nut butter is carried in an American made, glass, mason jar, (which can be returned for reuse), and all labels are printed locally in Durham, NC using natural paper stock.
Walking in to the back section of The Cookery commonly referred to as ‘the Bakery’ I was greeted by Big Spoon Roasters pioneer, Mark Overbay as well as by the warmth of the roasting ovens getting preheated for the days batch of nut butters. As Overbay methodically hand inspected each tray for less than perfect nuts, he explained that part of what we were roasting and shooting that day would end up at one of Big Spoon’s local restaurant customers, Jubala Village Coffee, who would likely use the batch either on their regular PB&J menu offering or serve atop their signature waffles. Hey also suggested that one of the best ways to enjoy Big Spoon Roasters nut butters is to serve it simply, and with fresh fruit, like a nice variety of apple slices like Honeycrisp or with fresh berries on toasted bread.
(this shot reminds me of a 1970′s cookbook…and I like that…)
Peanut Pecan…Peanut Cocoa…Peanut…three flavors I found carried at NOFO at the Pig in Five Points, Raleigh.
Big Spoon Roasters uses local wildflower honey in each batch of nut butters, not only as a flavor but also because it acts as a natural preservative, therefore no refrigeration is needed. The honey also aids to provide a long shelf life for the nut butters but Overbay encourages a different view of how peanut butter should be consumed. In his perspective, fresher is always better, and natural nut butters should not be bought in huge amounts that will keep indefinitely, but should be purchased in smaller amounts and enjoyed immediately. Regardless, he states that any natural nut butter will separate as it sits. When a natural product is purchased and opened, at times, one may find the oil has risen to the top and this is not an indication of ‘freshness’ and a quick stir can easily return the nut butter to it’s original glory.
Hand Roasted, Hand Filled, Hand Labeled,…