Step Up Your PB&J with Durham’s Big Spoon Roasters


Who hasn’t happily scooped a spoonful of peanut butter from the jar before?

For Durham, North Carolina’s Mark Overbay, that’s kind of how it all began. As founder of Big Spoon Roasters, Overbay was just a child when he walked into his family’s kitchen one day to find his father having his favorite snack—a spoonful of peanut butter. “Big spoon!” Overbay blurted out, and the words stuck.big spoon

Now providing handcrafted nut butters in an array of traditional and unexpected flavors, Big Spoon Roasters is becoming a household name. Heralded in Oprah MagazineSouthern Living, The Wall Street Journal, and more, the consensus is the same: We love it—no jelly needed.

Using the best possible ingredients—many sourced from the South, including Piedmont honeys and pecans—the company’s philosophy is simple: Food matters. It matters to our wellbeing, our happiness, and the health of our planet. Big Spoon partners only with “trusted, transparent farms and producers that share this philosophy,” according to its site, and relies on local and regional peanut farmers, thrilled to support one of North Carolina’s biggest agricultural resources.

Overbay got a glimpse into nut butter production for the first time in 1999 in Zimbabwe. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, he watched families roast peanuts after harvest over an open fire, grind them, then add salt and honey. But back in the United States, he couldn’t find a single brand of peanut butter that matched the deliciousness of what he had experienced there.

Ten years later, in 2010, he tried to recreate the peanut butter he first ate in Zimbabwe. He began adding other ingredients, trying new roast levels, and experimenting with different nuts. In 2011, with plenty of positive feedback from friends and family, he started Big Spoon Roasters.

The company’s many nut butters are available online and in stores across the country. For those lucky North Carolinians living in the Triangle, they—and the company’s energy bars—can also be purchased at local farmers’ markets. Start out with a classic, or branch out and try almond ginger butter, cocoa nib peanut butter, or the beloved chai spice nut butter. No matter how you spread it, it’s gonna taste good.


Andrea Fisher is a writer, blogger, and content specialist for Targeted Merchant Solutions. Her work has been published in  The Chicago Tribune and Business Insider, among others. Connect with her on Google+ and Twitter.