Note: Numerous updates to this post have been made – see bottom.
Many of you know that there is only one dangerous addiction in my life. I don’t drink, or smoke (bleagh!) or do any of the (frankly, more interesting) substances available. But there is one seriously controlled substance in my life: peanut butter. I luvs me some peanut butter.
I could go on and on explaining that love, but suffice to say there was a point when the young ‘Deep, circa 5 or 6 years old, decided to seek a better parenting opportunity1 by running away from home. To begin my new life on my own, I carefully chose the three things I’d take with me: a blanket, a spoon, and a jar of JIF Extra Crunchy: I have always been serious about my peanut butter. It is a conscious effort not to eat peanut butter every day of the week2.
So about a year & a half ago, I came across this blog post by someone who loves peanut butter even more than I do (shocking! & perhaps a bit scary, actually) & ever since I have been looking for this “Parkers Farm” Peanut Butter of which he speaks. It had been a long and fruitless search and I had all but forgotten, until one day on Facebook, one of my friends mentioned her favorite snack3 & happened to include the brand of the peanut butter involved! I realized that she knew where to find the legendary peanut butter! Woot!
After getting the scoop, I immediately went and bought some. And……. lo! I had been delivered from darkness! It is truly the best peanut butter I have ever had. Whether you like all natural or not, whether you like creamy or not, whether you like sweetened or not, it doesn’t matter. This is IT:
the U.S. Strategic Peanut Butter Reserve (a.k.a. my fridge)
- in San Francisco, it can be found at Whole Foods South of Market. [UPDATE 11/23/09: I have been informed that it is also at Whole Foods in Noe Valley & Delessio's Market near the PanHandle.] All Whole Foods don’t carry it, but here is a link to the Parkers Farm company & I think they have a link to some of the distributors.
- It is kept in the refrigerated case (like where they keep cottage cheese and butter.)
If you like mainstream peanut butter (as I do), you’ll find the honeyed ones are where it is at! If you like natural peanut butter, I still think you’ll like the sweeter honeyed ones, but by all means go for the “Plain” if need be. I prefer the “Honey Crunchy”, but the “Plain” is also great & a significantly different excellent experience from the honeyed ones. The “Honey Creamy” is practically as good as the “Honey Crunchy.” There is a “Plain Crunchy”, but they don’t seem to carry it at my Whole Foods.
The second amazing thing about this peanut butter, after the taste, is that it’s ALL NATURAL – and the ingredients are ONLY: peanuts & salt or peanuts, honey & salt (in the honeyed case). WOW.
The third amazing thing is that unlike all other natural peanut butters I’ve tried, the oil doesn’t seem to ever separate! They have some process miracle going on in there. Fascinating. My mind keeps returning to this question – how do they do it?!!!
So, get to it people! You won’t be disappointed! And if you are ever at my house, feel free to ask for a taste spoon. And thus I shall spread The Gospel!
1. Since my Mom will no doubt read this, let me state for the record that I was getting fine parenting of course.↩
2. Unfortunately, the latest pictures of me suggest that I have been… BUT I HAVEN’T – which of course, begs the question “What is the point of gaining weight if you aren’t doing it by getting to eat peanut butter 24/7?” – clearly my life (& my waistline) is amiss! I need to fix that – but the good news is that means more PF Peanut Butter for all of you Use it well! ↩
Update 4/19/11 – OPERATION CHICAGO GRAB:
As of 2010 sometime, there are no longer any supermarkets in SF that carry this PB You can bulk order it from MN but it comes with a LOT of packaging and CO2 emissions
We were visiting Chicago this past week & on a hunch I checked a few Whole Foods – sure enough on carried Parkers Farms PB!!! I grabbed 6 tubs (only 1 was honey) & blithely headed to the airport. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to check our bags & I naively hoped I could get it through in my carry on (it was sealed PB!).
Needless to say Operation Chicago Grab was a tragic failure. 6 Tubs! Lost! At least I got the TSA agent to take the PB home with him, rather than just tossing it!
Update 10/12/12 – OPERATION KIMBY GRAB:
Earlier this year, I finally got a hold of someone at the company. They are no longer bulk-shipping and thus the only places you can get this stuff is in the Midwest. :-(. At least I don’t have the carbon temptation anymore
Luckily Kimberly was headed to Minnesota to visit friends. PARKERS FARMS IS IN MINNESOTA!!!!
Operation Kimby Grab was a big success:
Update 9/11/13 – OPERATION FLYING PEANUT BUTTER:
I had a business trip to North Carolina & realized that my return flight connected through Chicago. BWA HA HA!
With a little work online, I extended my layover from 1 hour to 4 hours! With much legwork online & much shenanigans in Chicago (setbacks, resilience, excellent use of public transit (CTA subway FTW!) to avoid rush hour) I bought 22 tubs from a downtown Whole Foods, taped it all up in a box & rushed back to the airport. Peanut Butter checked as baggage!
Upon arrival in SF, 4 of the tubs were cracked & there was some spillage, but most were completely intact & nonetheless, there wasn’t a lot wasted. Overall HUGE SUCCESS!
Update 9/14/14 – OPERATION CHICAGO BUTTER: TRAGIC FAILURE
Since it was my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, I had trip to North Carolina & so I booked my tickets carefully so that I had a long (4 hour!) layover in Chciago on the way home, just like last year’s Operation Flying Peanut Butter.
I figured this would be a cake-walk since I had figured out all the logistics last year & written down careful notes.
I packed a cooler on my might out and lugged it everywhere on my trip, knowing that as annoying as it was, it would pay off in spades on the return leg.
Things started going wrong immediately upon arriving at the airport for the flight back via Chicago: They wouldn’t let me get the cooler during the layover. They would *only* check it all the way through to SFO. DAMN, I had lugged it around for nothing. FINE. I would not be denied. I would get a box at the grocery store like last time, tape it up & check it.
Upon arriving in Chicago, the woman at the gate asked me she could switch me to the direct flight leaving right then. I said, “No! I have important things to do during the layover.”
Seconds later, however, I was dealt a death blow: I called the Whole Foods I went to last year, and they did not carry Parkers Farm peanut butter. WTF? I immediately called all the other Whole Foods I could & none of them did. GAAAAAAAAAAAAAH. This must have been because of the recall. DAMN YOU LISTERIA.
Devastated, I realized I could at least take an earlier flight (leaving soon after I arrived in Chicago) & avoid sitting around in Ohare airport for the extra hours. I hustled over to the gate & they informed me that I couldn’t jump on that flight since I had to stay with my baggage – the cooler! until it flew out later that night! DAMN YOU COOLER.
So I waited and waited for my flight & then finally made it on & home to SFO. Once at SFO I waited for an hour for my cooler to pop out of the baggage claim. IT DID NOT. I went to the baggage claim desk, where they calmly explained to me that it made it here on the earlier flight. MEANING I DIDN’T NEED TO WAIT IN CHICAGO AFTER ALL.
5 TIMES THE HASSLE. O TIMES THE PEANUT BUTTER. OPERATION CHICAGO BUTTER: TRAGIC FAILURE
Notes for Future Smuggling Operations:
If anyone is flying through Chicago, Minneapolis, or anywhere in the Mid-west & has time to grab some peanut butter for me on the day of their flight, please let me know! I’ll do the legwork of finding it, all you’ll need to do is be the Peanut Butter Mule!
Notes for Peanut Butter Mules:
- The PB has to be checked baggage (see the tragedy of Operation Chicago Grab above)
- Unless you can refrigerate it, it’s important to buy it on the day of your flight to SF.
- I will repay you with dinner anywhere in SF & of course reimburse you the cost & baggage charge & whatever else.
Notes for ‘Deep:
- Make calls BEFORE booking tickets.
- Call all the Whole Foods nearby. Ask for the “Grocery” dept.
- Ask if they carry it & specifically if they have honeyed & how many. (Many carry it, but some only carry plain varieties and some have both honeyed and plain.)
- Note that we have confirmed that the Canal St & Halsted Street locations had both. I went to Canal St (a short walk from Clinton CTA station)