My nose knew I had arrived at my destination well before my eyes. As I came through the four corners in the charming village of Nunda, NY, the gently sweet aroma of lightly roasted nuts wafted through my car. Just ahead was the Once Again Nut Butter production facility and I was excited to visit the home of my favorite crunchy peanut butter. I was soon to learn that Once Again Nut Butter is about more than peanuts!
Once Again Nut Butter’s motto is “We Spread Integrity”. I wasn’t too sure what that meant until I toured the facility and talked with Gael Orr, Communications Manager. It soon became to clear to me that when you purchase a jar of Once Again, you partner in a mission to make the world a better place – from the ground up!
Once Again was founded in 1976 by Jeremy Thaler and Constance Potter. A friend mentioned to them the idea of purchasing a small, used coffee roaster and trying to roast bulk nuts. Production began in an 800 square foot space in their basement and the rest is history! Today Once Again is located in a 27,000 square foot state of the art food production facility. From its humble beginnings, Once Again has grown to become a national market leader in production of organic and natural nut butters and boasts food safety and quality management practices that have earned it Safe Quality Foods (SQF) 2000 Level 3 Certification – the highest Safe Quality Foods Qualification that can be attained.
Touring the pristine production areas I could see what makes these nut and seed butters among the best in the world. Nuts were toasted fresh and immediately ground into the appropriate nut butter and packaged. And everyone was smiling – the organization is 100% employee owned and democratically managed, and was among the first Certified Fair Labor Practice organizations in the country.
Gael explained to me that Once Again sees itself as being a mission-oriented company that also makes great tasting nut butters! This means that Once Again is involved in helping make the world a better place – from helping the local Rotary to addressing issues of poverty by paying fair prices for commodities and starting farm co-ops in developing economies. As a healthy food pioneer, Once Again helped develop the organic peanut growing standards for the United States and they are currently supporting regional beekeepers from family farms and assisting United States organic sunflower growers with crop development.
Before I left, I decided to ask Gael for advice on a problem I was facing – it was all employee staff meeting at NOFA-NY this week, and the theme of the pot-luck was “gluten-free”. Since being told of the goal of gluten free, of course all I could think of was food laden with gluten! Gael gave me a recipe booklet of gluten free treats made with Once Again products, and a handy pack of nut butters to try. The Once again Cashew Butter is a staff favorite and we learned it is great on apples. I actually baked the gluten free Trail Mix Cookie recipe from the Once Again Nut Butter recipe book as my dish to pass. Those cookies were so good there was not a crumb left!
Thank you Gael for the tour and to everyone at Once Again Nut Butter! For more information about Once Again Nut Butter including the Trail Mix Cookie recipe, you can check out their website at http://www.OnceAgainNutButter.com.