Richmond Times-Dispatch, November 28, 2011

Biz Buzz: Life change leads to the creation of a peanut butter business

By: LOUIS LLOVIO | Richmond Times-Dispatch , TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF | Times-Dispatch
Published: November 28, 2011
Andrew Broocker woke up on Feb. 4, 2008, looked in the mirror and decided he'd had enough. It was time to change his life. "I was tired of it. I was tired of how I looked. I was tired of how I was living," said Broocker, who was overweight his entire life and bordering on obese. That same day, he began a process that would, within a year, help him lose more than half his weight, or about 160 pounds, and would, eventually, lead him into an unexpected new career as a peanut butter manufacturer. Broocker is owner of Reginald's Homemade, a peanut butter company that makes eight flavors and two types of cashew butters. Among the flavors are Bourbon Pecan, Apple Sin, Nana Honey and White Chocolate Macadamia. The butters, which are all-natural, are sold at several area retailers, including Ellwood Thompson's Local Market near Carytown, Libbie Market near Libbie and Grove avenues and Whole Foods in western Henrico County. They also are available through the online grocer Relay Foods and at several stores in Williamsburg, Charlottesville and at the Omni Bedford Springs Resort in Bedford, Pa. Broocker said he got the idea for the peanut butter while working on losing weight and eating healthier. To curb his eating, he kept a minimal amount of food in his home. It worked — to a point. "I looked great but felt sluggish. I needed to add calories to my diet," he said. He turned to peanut butter, but soon found that the brands he was buying just didn't taste right. "A lot of food doesn't taste like it should. Peanut butter should taste like peanuts," he said. To fix the problem, he began adding flavor and making his own. And that dalliance led to Reginald's Homemade. Broocker gets his peanuts from a farm in Wakefield and makes the butter himself at his house in Goochland County. "We do everything but grow the peanuts," he said. All of Reginald's Homemade peanut butter is salt-free and has no preservatives. "I firmly believe you don't have to have additives to bring out flavor," Broocker said.

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