An Interview with Mark Overbay: The Nut Butter Guy

As you wander the Carrboro Farmer’s Market on a Saturday morning, you can’t help but notice Mark Overbay and his handcrafted nut butters. Today, we want to introduce you to Mark, the man behind Big Spoon. Later this week, we’ll share more about Big Spoon Roasters and the story behind Mark’s business.

Occupation: Owner of Big Spoon Roasters.

Hometown: Kingsport, TN.

Moved to North Carolina: In 2006 from Washington D.C.

What do you love best about North Carolina? That’s tough… There’s a lot a good stuff here in North Carolina. It’s difficult to answer, but I love the people, the climate, the music, the ocean, the mountains. I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather live.

What type of music do you listen to when you’re cooking in the kitchen? Well, I love music. My tastes are all over the place. Right now, I love the Black Keys, Gillian Welch, Hip-hop, Old R.E.M., and Louis Armstrong. My dad was a guitarist, and I grew up playing drums in our house. 

Top 5 favorite foods? (anything goes) 1) Black Twig Apples with Peanut Butter 2) Roast Chicken 3) Summer Tomatoes with Salt 4) GREAT coffee (it has to be great) 5) Collard Greens.

What is your comfort food? Ice Cream –  Specifically coconut milk ice cream with nuts and dark chocolate.

Are there any foods you won’t eat/try? Not really – I was a volunteer in the Peace Corps in Zimbabwe, and moth larva was one of the local foods. I feel like most things here are pretty tame compared to that. For a long time in my life I had mayonnaise phobia, but once I had the homemade/restaurant versions, I came around.

What is the most memorable meal you’ve eaten recently? When Megan, my fiancé, and I cooked dinner for my parents, we had Cane Creek Farm sausages on the grill with cabbage slaw – the cabbage was from Bluebird Meadows Farm – and pea shoots were from Four Leaf Farm.  That was followed by Megan’s homemade peanut butter cups.

The ingredient you currently can’t stop using is: Sea Salt.

You have a day with absolutely no obligations. How do you spend it? I’d go on a run with Megan [pictured above] and our two dogs, Riley and Rioja. Then, brunch at Parker & Otis, followed by a bike ride. Probably then, I’d buy ice cream and go to a matinee movie. And then homemade dinner and dessert at home.

What are some cooking challenges or techniques you would like to tackle? I’d love to master authentic Japanese sushi. It’s something I’ve never really done much of.

Who is one person you’d love to cook with? I’d love to cook with my great-grandfather Woodrow Williams. Before he passed away, I was very close with him but I wasn’t really of cooking age. But he was a great cook, awesome in fact. He was sort of an improvisational Southern, American cook. He knew how to catch trout, clean it, and then fry it on the river bank. He also made amazing biscuits and fried chicken, and he could can any vegetable. He’s definitely an idol.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s