Ton of Peanut Butter

Kavi Tasting a Ton of Peanut Butter

Kavi dog is taste testing the peanut butter to give his official approval before we unload it for his pigs. Peanut butter you ask? For pigs??? Yes, in fact, one full ton of peanut butter. Four 500 lb barrels of smooth peanut butter to be exact. Another great find! Filled with calories (great for cold winter days) and protein. Those calories are greatly appreciated by the pigs as we’ve got another two months of cold weather ahead of us.

So why in the world would we get a 2,000 pounds of peanut butter? Apparently Ben & Jerry’s had a little oops. These barrels went out of date, they passed their expiration. Things like that happen. A ton of peanut butter may sound like a huge quantity but when you think about the total volume of ice cream they make it was probably only a little oops, a little left over from a very large batch. Fortunately they are willing to work on keeping good organic materials like this out of the landfill. Organics can put in a manure lagoon. Better is for it to be composted. Best of all is feeding it to pigs which puts the food at the highest point on the food gradient meaning the least amount of wasted energy. That’s green gold and a win-win for everyone.

Pulling Peanut Butter Barrels

Five hundred pound barrels are heavy. The whole pallet was loaded into the van all in one shot by a very talented fork lift operator named Lefty. It just barely fit – more on that below. In the cramped space of the van it is a bit trick getting them back out. We used the tractor and a chain to pull them back. That worked slickly.

Unloading 500 lb Barrel of Peanut Butter

Once the barrels were back hanging off the back of the van we tipped them into the bucket of the tractor and strapped them on using a chain to the bale hooks. I positioned the barrels in convient places by each of the winter pig areas. Since it is still so cold we’ll just store them in our gigantic outdoor refrigerator/freezer for the next couple of months while we use them up. In a Texas July this might be a bit of an issue. I’m not sure how peanut butter keeps in hot places like that. Around here we store it all summer just out on the counter since it never gets all that hot.

Fine print: Of course, any modifications you make to your equipment are your responsibility, things can go wrong, don’t get hooked on it, work safely and all that stuff. I don’t take responsibility for your actions, this is not engineering advice, merely my experience, etc, etc.

Notice how the doors of the van open flat against the van? There’s a little latch you can undo to make this happen. Very, very handy when loading or unloading a ton of peanut butter.

Below is a photo of our E-250 van with the peanut butter still in the back just after we got home. It is a good thing we have the extra springs but the van still does not appreciate having the weight too far back past the rear axle like that. The result is the front end is lifted up. It looks even more dramatic in person than I was able to capture in this photo.

Hot Rod Van

It looked worse when we left Ben & Jerry’s warehouse. Unfortunately because of the pig hauling space in the back of the van the pallet of barrels was not able to go further forward which put too much weight, 2,000 lbs of weight, all behind the rear axle. We actually lifted the front wheels of the ground at one point. Not good.

To fix that we moved 500 lbs of concrete blocks from the back to the front of the van up between Holly and I. We carry those blocks in the van because when unloaded it slips around. It is fine when we have the weight of a load of pigs alive or in boxes – about 500 to 1,500 lbs. Shifting the blocks forward lowered the nose so we wouldn’t lift off when driving down the highway of life, er, I-89. Holly also drove slowly, the minimum speed limit of 45 mph posted on the highway. I had pointed out to her that there was no need to go fast – we were in a race and you win if you get home in one piece.

We’ve carried greater weights, whole vans full of portland cement, bricks and cheese, but the load was better balanced in those cases. By the next time we pickup I’ll have rebuilt the pig area a bit so that we can slide barrels in farther putting their weight centered just in front of the rear axle.

I’ve read of peanut butter being fed to pigs. Kavi demonstrated he’s not allergic but he’s a dog. The question is, are pig’s allergic to peanut butter and specifically, are our pigs. So I picked two smaller finishers to be taste testers for the herd. The were both dubious about the new taste and played with the small globs I gave them. Then down the hatch they went. One of the pigs made the peanut butter face afterwards – you know, “Heh! It’s stuck to the roof of my mouth, how do I get it off!?!” Then they both wanted more. They were fine hours later so no anaphylactic shock or obvious allergie issues. Good to know. I’ve still got some reading to do before I settle on how to work this new source of protein and fat into their diet.

Ben & Hope with Ben & Jerry’s

Many thanks to Billie, Sharon, Lefty and everyone else at Ben & Jerries plant! This evening we enjoyed a treat of ice cream doing a taste test of three different kinds. The kids were very excited!

Outdoors: 24°F/4°F Sunny Skies
Farm House: 52°F/42°F
Tiny Cottage: 61°F/51°F

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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23 Responses to Ton of Peanut Butter

  1. Hooray for Ben & Jerry’s for recycling their ‘oops’ food, and helping farmers raise healthy, happy pigs!

  2. JaniceT says:

    One of the things I love about your farm is how you do this how you turn what other people see as a waste into something that is amazingly delicious pork. And I have had it from the co-op so I know. Keep turning lead into gold!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wow! First the honey and now the peanut butter! Do you still get the bread (read a post a long time ago)?
    Love reading about your amazing farm.

  4. Farmer John says:

    I’m in washington state. Just stumbled across your site. Cool! I like your temp readings. Dude, put some wood in the stove!

    We’re a bunch a wussies on this side. That’s a little chilly.

  5. Haymaker says:

    Ever thought of painting the side of your van with the “Sugar Mountain Farm” logo, etc.? Every time I’d see your van drive by, I’d have to wonder if you had hogs in the back…

  6. Haymaker, yes, we’ve thought of putting the label design on the back side panels. First we’re going to paint the van white. That will help it stay cooler inside in the heat of summer. Holly does drawings, and drew the pig on our label, so she might do it in all her copious :) free time.

    We’ve also joked (?) about painting the van to look like a pig. Ben wants to set it up to give a personal surprise to tailgaters care of the pigs… I don’t think the highway department wants him fertilizing the roads though!

  7. Brian says:

    Walter, A note of Intrest Cold hollw cider mill in waterbury has an ad on craigslist for free apple pomise today 3/19 they will load youe truck. Waterbury is to far for me to go but I know your pigs will love it

  8. Thanks for the tip on the apple pomase. I called and spoke with someone there and we’ll pick up some to try with the pigs.

  9. Hi, Walter. Hopefully not too naive a question, I am trying to learn more about artisan pork. Won’t the peanut butter impact the taste (if not texture) of the pork? I have acorn-fed / Iberico pork in mind. Perhaps you have an earlier post that explains the key drivers of taste/flavor or know an good third party source. Clearly breed, diet, husbandry and processing techniques would be key but is it true that adding acorns or apples or even peanut butter can drive a noticeable difference in the end flavor?

  10. Definitely. Thus I would not want to feed them too much. I also don’t want to unbalance the protein mix so the peanut butter is being fed slowly. A ton of peanut butter to two hundred pigs over several months only comes out to only a few of ounces of peanut butter per day per pig.

    I focus the peanut butter on the main herd, piglets and growers who need higher protein. At the same time their still getting their free feeding diet of whey and pasture/hay. We’ll see if it changes flavor but at that rate of feeding I think we’ll be fine.

    Interestingly, pigs are not piggy like people think. They’re actually very cautious about new flavors and don’t dig in to something strange. This is likely a survival trait – new can be quite dangerous.

    One thing that is important is variety of diet. In the summers they get the most variety since they’re out on pasture. With winter the hay is more limited in variety as well as freshness.

    As an experiment I’m planning to take one pig and feed it up in the last two weeks on free feed of peanut butter to see just what that does to the flavor. Until then, everyone’s just getting a little bit.

  11. Ryan says:

    It is great to see good resources not going to waste. I wish it was easier to do this kind of thing. Large corporations have trouble with this kind of thing, it takes the flexibility to think outside of the box.

  12. Yes, bravo to Ben & Jerry's (Eat more ice cream!), Cabot, Vermont Butter & Cheese, Hood, Booth Brothers, etc. They are doing the right thing by helping local farmers and keeping good food out of the landfills.

  13. Wendy says:

    This is great! Found you because of a comment someone wrote and really enjoyed reading this. Will check back to see how the flavor is/is not affected. Very cool.

  14. We didn’t really notice much difference. Perhaps it would have been noticeable had the peanut butter been a bigger part of their diet. The taste and texture were excellent.

  15. Farmerbob1 says:

    Found an oops, Walter.
    “Organics can put put”

    I’m fairly sure there aren’t supposed to be two ‘put’s there next to each other – unless you’re planning on opening a minigolf park on the farm? :)

  16. Farmerbob1 says:

    Heh, someone mentioned putting a sign on your van, Walter, but as I wandered back this way and thought about it, I came up with another idea.

    You have a metal worker in the family. Have them weld up a short pig nose for the front of the van. In the summer time you probably wouldn’t want to have it partly blocking the radiator, but in the winter time, I imagine that some radiator blockage isn’t going to make a difference for engine cooling.

    If you wanted to go, err, whole hog on the idea, you could get a pair of truck nuts that hang off the trailer hitch.

    It would probably be a very good idea to consult Holly before moving forward with this plan.

    • We’ve toyed with that idea for years. Basically we would put an entire stainless steel skin on the exterior with the shape and features of a pig and then put insulating between the existing van and that new skin. This would cut maintenance and be very cool. But it is a hefty project both cost wise and time wise so it hasn’t happened yet.

      We do have magnetic signs on the van. They essentially look like our label. You can see a photo here.

      • Farmerbob1 says:

        A whole skin, like the Oscar Meyer Mobile? (The hot dog truck)

        That would be awful expensive. I was thinking just a 55-gallon barrel, cut down and made into a nose. Attach to the front bumper. Maybe some tusks too, also attached to the front bumper.

        Covering the whole van would be a heck of a project, and heavy as well. I think you would be cutting into the utility value of the van if you did a full body covering.

        And… I just realized that you might live near someone else who would be interested in that project, and save you the time. Remember the horse sculpture made from propane cylinders? That sculptor might be interested in a small project that would be mobile.

        • We’ve been thinking whole skin method for several reasons including that stainless steel won’t rust. This is Vermont. Nasty salt they do use on the roads. We already carry extra weight for traction but are nowhere near the weight limit of the vehicle. In the winter you want the weight. Besides, it would be a fun sculpture…

  17. Milton Upchurch says:

    Hello Where Can I Buy The Barrels Of Peanut Butter At And How Much Are They .I Live In NC 27569

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