Sabra hummus. Yummmm.

There sits in my refrigerator a near-empty container of Sabra red-pepper hummus. The Bacon family generally avoids pre-meal snacks and hors d’oeuvres, but when we do indulge, we put hummus on our crackers, not the usual cream cheese-based dips. Hummus, which uses chick peaks as the main ingredient, is high in protein. Not only does it have less fat than cream cheese, it’s the good kind of fat.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that hummus hors d’oeuvres are healthy — you have to consider the salt, sugar and fat loaded into the crackers. But it’s definitely less unhealthy than cheese dip. And it tastes just as good. Maybe better. (Lots of garlic. Mmmm.)

That’s a round-about preamble to the news story of the day, the announcement by Sabra Dipping Co. that it will invest $86 million to double the size of its Chesterfield County manufacturing facility. Sabra will ramp up production of its hummus spread from 6,000 tons per month to 10,000 tons, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The company also has just opened an 18,000-square-foot R&D facility on the property.

What’s more, Sabra is launching a major initiative to grow chickpeas in Virginia as a way to diversify the source of its chickpea supply in the event of crop failures in Washington state and Idaho. Sourcing chickpeas also would lower the trans-continental shipping costs, writes the Wall Street Journal. Right now, the chickpea crop is valued at a modest $115 million a year. But that number is bound to grow as hummus continues to gain in popularity and Americans develop export markets.

Virginia offers a longer growing season for chickpeas but the summer heat and humidity makes plants vulnerable to the Ascochyta fungus blight. Sabra is sponsoring research at Virginia State University, which is trying to identify a chickpea variety suited to the climate. Virginia farmers could be growing the crop on a commercial scale within three years.

Richmonders, it’s time to embrace not only Sabra as a good corporate citizen but to start chowing down its chickpeas! Not only is hummus a healthier alternative to fat- and calorie-drenched cheese-based dips and spreads, it’s locally processed and soon will be locally grown. What’s not to love?


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16 responses to “Chowing on Chickpeas”

  1. I think there is a “name” problem similar to the names of some good tasting fish but the name is off-putting.

    some examples:

    slimehead fish now called orange roughy and became so
    popular that it may become commercially extinct

    Patagonian toothfish (aka Chilean sea bass),

    whore’s eggs (aka Maine sea urchin)

    ,mud crabs (aka peekytoe crab).

    Hummus sounds like dirt or forest litter… or what bean sprouts or mushrooms grow in.

    they need to change the name to something like Chick Pea Cheese or some such.

  2. reed fawell III Avatar
    reed fawell III

    goodby apple, goodby banana – HUMMUS RULES THE WORLD!

  3. reed fawell III Avatar
    reed fawell III

    Don’t tell anyone but HUMMUS is great substitute for mayonnaise.

  4. WoodbridgeKid73 Avatar

    I think the Virginia Hummus market will be a lot bigger in the Northern part of the Commonwealth then in the Richmond area. Northern Virginia already has a large population of people who are from the Mediterranean, the Middle East and other parts of the world and eat Hummus normally to begin with. Plus, hummus is already on a lot of menus in Northern restaurants.

    1. I dunno.. if they start putting it on those meat pies…!!!!!

      I wonder if Reed knows that hummus is the preferred food for progressives?

  5. DJRippert Avatar

    Sabra is a joint venture between Strauss and PepsiCo. Strauss, an Israeli company, donates money to the Israeli military – in particular, to the Golani Brigade – a group accused of human rights violations. Several student groups have tried to encourage boycotts of Sabra hummus and have petitioned their universities to offer a hummus alternative to Sabra.

    You see, Jim – even something as simple as a chickpea spread creates controversy in today’s world!

    Hummus is delicious. Good for Chesterfield. Good for Virginia.

  6. Oh.. how do you know humus is what it is – in terms of what is in it and it’s nutritional characteristics?

    let me guess.. it’s that big nasty centralized govt with all those regulations and bureaucratic bean-counters, right?

    geeze.. how do you know that humus is actually humus ? are you depending on some govt dweeb to help you?

  7. come on guys. How come I can’t put some ingredients together and call them Humus?

    How come I can’t mulch up a bunch of leaves and package them as humus?

    Reed? how come I can’t do this?

    How come when you go buy humus, you trust that it’s real?

    do you trust the folks who sell humus if the govt was not around?

    is this one of the places where we should get rid of that nasty govt regulation?

    no Nutrition labels on humus. No one making sure there are not grubs or grasshopper parts in it…


  8. Richard Avatar

    Hummus is great! The Sabra product is not so great. It shouldn’t be mass produced like cheese spread. There is a great source of freshly made hummus here in Raleigh – Neomonde Bakery (Lebanese).

    I’ve made a decent hummus myself – can of chickpeas, a scoop of tahini, chopped garlic, a blender, lemon juice to taste, and olive oil if you like a creamier consistency.

    1. It takes a well-funded corporation like Sabra to convert Americans to hummus. I’m sure Neomonde Bakery is a great place, but I doubt it can afford to run national advertising campaigns and field a sales force to put its product in grocery stores around the country. Sabra can do that. Sabra can make hummus as American as apple pie, bagels and tacos. Once the food category has been established, it will create a lot more room for small businesses like Neomonde Bakery to flourish with superior products.

      1. Richard Avatar

        Of course. Good luck to Sabra!

  9. reed fawell III Avatar
    reed fawell III

    This morning I returned to my coffee table to discover my Labrador Retriever Buckley licking my Sabra spinach hummus.

    My anger flared. Have you ever seen or tried out Labrador licked spinach hummus. Its got a difference look. Not its otherwise smooth and perfect appearance, save for its well centered garnish nestled there in its perfectly round container. No, a Labrador licked hummus has an very odd look. Its a sticky like, and dimpled appearance, as if a photo had caught an otherwise smooth patch of water riffled for a instant by a gust of wind.

    What to do next? It’s my last Hummus. Traveling to the store and back is 30 minutes round trip. And there’s plenty of Buckley licked hummus left. In fact I had only a few knife blade swipes of Hummus before Buckley’s thievery. So there’s hummus between us now, him and me, and a lot of it left. Now too Buckley’s brown eyes implore. He wants more. Or should we share? That was the most pressing issue and question of my morning.

  10. larryg Avatar

    I must have one of those “progressive” Labs. I can leave a plate of steak on the coffee table …leave the room, even leave the house and he won’t touch it.

  11. mbaldwin Avatar

    Right on! We’ve long been fans of hummus and chick peas. Time for Virginia to add chick peas to its agricultural base. They might prove more profitable to grow than grapes for sale to a winery. (We’ve decided against the economics of expanding our small vineyard. )

  12. Les Schreiber Avatar
    Les Schreiber

    Why did the Wall Street Journal have a more complete examination of this development than the local paper?

  13. larryg Avatar

    re: why not local coverage?

    my guess is that chickpeas and Humus are basically hippie foods…from way back… picked up by the yuppies and even some RINOs as evidenced by the Bacon’s slide towards progressiveism…at least in food ….

    as such, Richmond an environs suffers no fools when it comes to food for progressives! to hell with those limp wrist wimps!

    Richmond and the “real” Virginia is for Marlboro men!

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