Things are about to get a bit more sticky in Northern Virginia.
Gov. Ralph Northam announced Wednesday that OmMade Peanut Butter will invest nearly $300,000 to establish an all-natural, gourmet peanut butter manufacturing operation in Fairfax County.
Over the next three years, the woman- and minority-owned company will source 30,000 pounds of peanuts from Virginia farmers. The new facility will be located in one of the target redevelopment areas for the county and will feature a storefront to complement its production activities. The project will create five new jobs.
“Supporting innovative agribusinesses like OmMade Peanut Butter is key to spreading economic growth and opportunity to all parts of the Commonwealth,” Northam said. “With bold and unique flavors, high-quality natural ingredients, and a commitment to locally-sourced peanuts, the company is a natural fit for Virginia. I also want to commend Fairfax County for its commitment to growing the next generation of Virginia’s business leaders.”
Radhika Murari began making peanut butter nearly eight years ago in an effort to create a preservative-free snack that was both delicious and healthy. After years of positive feedback, Murari started selling OmMade Peanut Butter at the Fairfax County Farmers’ Market.
Success there led to new sales online and at area Whole Foods stores. With this project, Murari will move production from her home kitchen to a commercial facility and transition the home-based company into a job-creating business venture.
“Virginia has a long history of growing the world’s best peanuts, and thanks to companies like OmMade Peanut Butter, we are also home to some of the world’s best peanut butter,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “I am pleased that the Commonwealth has been able to support OmMade Peanut Butter, first through the Virginia’s Finest® program and now with this funding award. It is through partnerships like these that we keep our economy and our agricultural community growing.”
OmMade Peanut Butter has participated in the Virginia’s Finest program since 2018. Created more than 30 years ago with more than 500 participating companies, the Virginia’s Finest program identifies, differentiates and promotes top-quality Virginia-produced agriculture and specialty food and beverage products with a classic blue and red VA check mark logo.
“There is one simple reason for the success of OmMade Peanut Butter: Virginia peanuts,” said Radhika Murari, founder and creater of OmMade Peanut Butter. “Because of the unmatched flavor of Virginia peanuts, OmMade Peanut Butter is not only the best-tasting peanut butter on the market, it is also extremely healthy. I appreciate this support from Fairfax County and the Commonwealth, which will enable OmMade Peanut Butter to set up a commercial production facility and allow for nationwide sales expansion.”
The Commonwealth is partnering with Fairfax County and the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority on this project through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund, which is administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Governor Northam approved a $25,000 grant from the AFID Fund to secure the project for Virginia, which Fairfax County will match with local funds.
“I am so pleased that a Fairfax County, woman-owned, small business, founded by long-time Reston resident Radhika Murari, will benefit from this grant and bring more jobs to the county,” said Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Jeffrey McKay. “This is a difficult time for businesses, especially those looking to grow, so it’s exciting to be able to lift up OmMade Peanut Butter, a Made in Fairfax operation, and showcase the creativity and quality that Fairfax has to offer.”
“As the birthplace of the commercial peanut industry, Virginia has long been famous for high-quality peanuts,” said Senator Janet Howell. “I am pleased that OmMade Peanut Butter will add to our fame!”
“As a long-time lover of OmMade Peanut Butter, I am pleased that this woman-owned, home-based business is able to use this AFID grant to expand and share this wonderful product more widely,” said Delegate Kenneth Plum.