Sunday, May 19, 2013
You may have noticed, perusing the latest issue of Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer, that the top story is about fig butter that is made in Maine.
Last time I checked, figs didn't grow in Maine. But right there on the front page of the little TJ's newspaper it says: "Working with Maine-based culinary craftsmen, focused on old-fashioned, farmstand goodness and flavor, we created Trader Joe's Fig Butter."
Here's what it looks like:
The new fig butter, the paper explains, is a medley of Mission figs, chosen for their sweetness; Calimyrna figs, chosen for their "distinctive nutty flavor;" and Conadria figs for their "nutty-sweet balance."
The figs are dried, ground and crushed, and then slow cooked in small batches with sugar, lemon juice concentrate and pectin. There are no preservatives or artificial colors in the product, which sells for $2.29 for an 11-ounce jar.
Curious, I contacted TJ's spokesperson, Alison Mochizuki, to find out what gives. She told me the figs come from California, but wouldn't say who in Maine is manufacturing the fig butter - or why a Maine company is supplying the company with fig butter made from California figs as opposed to, say, blueberry jam made with Maine blueberries.
"We don't disclose who our suppliers are as a matter of company policy," she said in an email.
The manufacturer will have to remain a mystery.
Meanwhile, who wants some toast?
– Meredith GoadTweet
Meredith Goad has harvested oysters on the Chesapeake Bay, eaten reindeer in Finland and sipped hot chai in the Himalayas. She writes the weekly Soup to Nuts column and enjoys a good cocktail.
Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business before turning to journalism more than a decade ago. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs. A newcomer to Portland, she is an online content producer for the Press Herald.
Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or saxelrod [at] pressherald.com.
On Twitter: @susansaxelrod
Wendy Almeida and her family have a smattering of livestock and a summer garden. After 10 years of her kids being involved in 4-H, she's finally accepted the term "hobby farm" to describe her family's work at sustainable living. These days her morning starts with milking a goat before heading into the office for her day job as an assistant editor for features.
Wendy can be contacted at wea [at] mainetoday.com or on Twitter @wea1021.