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Melissa Stewart (left) and Trisha Calliauw inspect jars of Nuts to You tahini.JEREMY KOHM

The labels have a homespun, flea-market look. The ingredients list is suspiciously short. The owner is a Luddite hippie. So how in the heck did Nuts to You Nut Butter Inc., in Paris, Ontario, find a place alongside the Krafts and Unilevers of the world on the shelves of every major grocer in the country?

Sam Abrams has a one-word answer: quality. It's the foundation of everything Nuts to You has accomplished over 25 years in business, some of which Abrams has spent flying around the world hunting for the perfect almond or cashew. He and his wife, Kathleen, launched the company in 1989 after fleeing Toronto's sprawl for the relative calm of the Ontario countryside. "I had an idea, but little aptitude," he says. "If there's 50 people and a donkey in a room, I'm the least skilled of all of them." Today, he dry-roasts, grinds and jars "millions of pounds" of nuts and seeds every year, and employs 13 to 15 people. The company has no website or social media presence. "I'm a hippie. I don't much care about technology," he explains. "People say every company does it now. Well, I guess we're not every company."

The estimated number of jars Jif produces every day at the world's largest peanut butter facility, in Kentucky.

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Peanut butter sales in Canada in 2011

Nov. 4, 1895
Dr. John Harvey Kellogg applies for a peanut butter patent

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