Sunday, February 15, 2009

Buy Peanut Butter

Tomorrow is Presidents Day, or so the calendars say, so this year it's fitting to mention one of the most obscure of the lot: Franklin Pierce, if only to show that presidential history is a well that never runs dry.

More Recession Food. Fisher brand peanut butter in the convenient 1 lb. 2 oz. (510g) plastic jar, available in smooth and crunchy varieties. I bought one of each variety the other day for 88ยข each at a discount grocer, a swell deal. Looking at the "best by" dates -- late this year -- I suspect that's the reason for the deal.

It's time to support the beleaguered peanut industry and peanut farmer anyway. ("Beleaguered" is useful in journalism, meaning an entity or person with bad problems that the writer doesn't have space to detail, or doesn't fully understand, or that haven't been proved in any way.) Not to belittle the suffering of the people sickened by bad peanut butter, but being scared of buying peanut butter merely because of news reports about bad peanut butter is ridiculous. I figure the drive to the store is more risky than eating the peanut butter I bought.

Fisher brand is produced in the Chicago area by John B. Sanfilippo & Sons Inc. I poked around their web site a while and, curious, listened to part of the company's most recent quarterly conference call on web-based replay, which isn't as odd as it sounds. I do that fairly often, only it's usually real estate or retail companies' calls. Peanut butter is only a few percent of company revenue, but the CEO (or was it the CFO? Bloggers don't need to check) was careful to note that they had nothing to do with the beleaguered Peanut Corporation of America (my phrasing). I believe it. Further poking around revealed a long list of peanut butter and peanut confection makers not on the recall list, among them John B. Sanfilippo.

I was also glad to see that the nut processing industry is well represented by various associations, including the American Peanut Council, the Peanut & Treenut Processors Association, the National Pecan Sheller Association, California Walnuts, the Almond Board of California and the International Treenut Council. The XXVIII World Nut and Dried Fruit Congress is going to be in Monaco at the end of May this year. Wonder if Prince Albert has a special interest in nuts.

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