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Wednesday, July 23, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 65.0° F  Fair
The Paper


Isthmus Indie Awards 2013: Fresh Food Friend -- Adrian Reif and Matt D'Amour, Yumbutter

Reif and D'Amour are changing the world via peanut butter.
Credit:Laura Zastrow
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Fresh Food Friend: Committed to delivering local, sustainable food through restaurant or retail channels.

Sometimes a jar of nut butter is just a jar of nut butter. But a jar of Yumbutter is so much more. Partners Adrian Reif and Matt D'Amour are concerned not just with peanuts and almonds, but with social responsibility and personal transformation. Their products are so out of the ordinary that Reif and D'Amour call them "potions."

"There's magic and love in every jar," Reif insists.

Reif and D'Amour came together almost three years ago with the goal of changing the world. Yes, changing the world via nut butter. And believe it or not, they're getting the job done, at least in their main distribution area of southwestern Wisconsin.

"From the beginning we were interested in this idea of holistic responsibility," Reif says. "We take a look at everything we do, from our sourcing, to our manufacturing, to our delivery, to how we treat our customers, to how we impact the world even outside our community."

How can a small local food company "impact the world"? For starters, Yumbutter partners with nonprofits on its BuyOne:FeedOne program, which aids malnourished children in developing countries. Then there's the manufacturing process, which provides jobs for people with disabilities. Reif and D'Amour also emphasize their product's nutritional value, with its protein and healthy fats. What easier way to begin a healthy lifestyle than with a spoonful of peanut butter?

"Nut butters are very accessible," D'Amour says. "We wanted to take this comfort food and make it a part of people's health routines."

Can a product this socially responsible also, you know, taste good? Meet Dark Chocolate Almond Butter, which mixes in luscious organic chocolate; and Asian Jazz Peanut Butter, whose spicy flavors earned it a spot in Martha Stewart's recent American Made event in New York City.

With its high-minded ideals, Yumbutter makes Skippy and other mainstream brands seem practically frivolous.

"Other companies just try to make a food that tastes good," Reif says. "We're going to make a food that tastes good and also rocks your body and rocks the world."

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