A lifelong peanut butter lover, our founder Mark received his first lesson in handcrafted nut butter in 1999 while living in a rural farming community in Zimbabwe, where he was a Peace Corps Volunteer. After harvest, peanuts were roasted over an open fire and ground by hand between stones as coarse salt was added to taste. Some families added a touch of local honey and fresh coconut oil to complement the salt and smooth out the texture. The deliciously fragrant, mouthwatering result was a revelation.
In the fall of 2010, Mark was inspired to recreate that unforgettable peanut butter experience he had in Africa and started roasting nuts and milling them into fresh nut butters in his home kitchen. Excited to share these foods with others and turn these passions into a business, Mark and his wife, Megan, started Big Spoon Roasters in January 2011.
Big Spoon’s philosophy about food is based on the belief that food matters. It matters to our health, our happiness, and the well being of our planet. Food should be delicious, nutritious, and good for all those involved in producing it. For us, cooking and sharing food with others is a great joy.
We source ingredients from only trusted, transparent farms and producers that share this philosophy. Peanuts are a tremendous agricultural resource for the American Southeast, and of our 50 states, North Carolina is ranked sixth in terms of peanut production. We are thrilled to be able to work with local and regional peanut farmers and to be a positive market force for sustainable peanut agriculture. As we’ve grown, we’ve had the honor of working with almond growers in California; pecan orchards in NC, GA, and TX; ginger farmers in Fiji; sorghum farmers in TN; and many more talented food producers we consider partners in a mission to set new standards for ingredient integrity, flavor, and freshness.
The name “Big Spoon” is a tribute to Mark’s dad, Gary, of Kingsport, TN, where Mark and several generations of his paternal family grew up. One day, a six-year-old Mark walked into the family kitchen to find his dad having one of his favorite snacks – a big spoonful of peanut butter straight from the jar. Mark blurted out, “big spoon!” and the nickname stuck. To this day, Mark’s friends from Kingsport still call Gary “Big Spoon,” and well, there was no question about what he was going to name the nut butter business.