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Family Flavors Are Formula For Success

One of the secrets to owning a profitable home business is a product that’s original, and if that product is original and tasty, it’s often a recipe for success. Several food-based entrepreneurs make their home and headquarters in Cherokee County, marketing their unique flavors over the Internet, by mail-order and in local markets and grocery stores.

Cherokee resident Tari Furey and her brothers and sisters have bottled and marketed their father’s favorite concoction as a tribute to his creativity and good taste. When Furey was a child growing up in Maryland, Sunday nights were special, because that’s the time when her dad, Chetney Hopkins Harris, would buy ice cream and then create his signature topping out of peanut butter, caramel, and condensed milk. “My brother Randy loved it so much that 12 years ago, when my father died, Randy suggested we bottle and market the topping,” Furey said. They named it “Chet’s” after their father, and now they make and bottle the product in Georgia, selling it around the country in specialty stores, grocery stores and on the Internet. “We used to eat it on vanilla ice cream,” Furey said, “But people like it on French toast, pancakes, waffles and even oatmeal.” Furey said it’s great blended with fudge and with chocolate flavors. Chet’s Peanut Butter Breakfast and Dessert Topping can be bought on the Internet at www.CHETSPB.com. The topping will be featured as a “new brand on the shelf” at the National Association of Specialty Foods trade show this spring, and is sold in Piggly Wiggly’s in South Carolina and Georgia, as well as in grocery stores in the Midwest.

For those who like it hot, the sauces offered by Pepper Ranch can be rated on Scoville Scale, which measures the heat of peppers. Maria and Bill Klouda, of Canton, bought the business and its secret recipes last year. “I love to cook and try new recipes, so it seemed like a great fit,” Maria Klouda said. Pepper Ranch offers pepper sauces, rubs and cooking marinades with varying degrees of hotness, from the classic peppers sauce to the scintillating taste of “Hell’s Fury,” along with everything in between. “We want to bring the heat of the South to your table,” Maria said. “Our secret recipes are a full line of award-winning sauces that pay homage to the mighty Habanero pepper.”  The Kloudas’ sauces include teriyaki, beer mustard, barbecue and pepper sauce, along with sweet and sour sauce, wing sauce and dry rubs. “You can eat them on anything from fried chicken to eggs to tater tots,” Maria said. Pepper Ranch will be exhibiting at the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show at the Cobb Galleria Center May 3-4. To order, visit www.pepperranch. com or call (877) 772-6240. The sauce can be bought locally at Memories in Olde Towne Woodstock. For web orders, free pick up or delivery is offered to Cherokee County residents.

For those who savor barbecue, a line of specialty sauces for the barbecue aficionado is available thanks to Lake Arrowhead resident Larry Speights, otherwise known as “Loose Lips Larry.” Larry spent more than 20 years as a U.S. Army cook perfecting his sauces, one of which is called “Slap Yo Mama” hot spicy wing sauce. He is now the assistant food service director at Reinhardt College in Waleska. His motto is “Once you taste it, you won’t waste it!” Loose Lips Larry’s line of sauces, which also feature a Sweet Georgia Honey Mustard and a red barbecue sauce, are available at Publix, McFarlands, Ingles, 187 Florida and South Georgia Wal-Marts and at foodservicedirect.com. He has recently released a cookbook, called “Loose Lips Larry Presents: You Can Cook, Too.” He frequently does food shows and fundraisers for schools.

Local wine can also be found to accompany a fine meal. Vincent and Mary Jakupi-Boutier are the operators of Boutier Winery in Acworth. Vincent is from Holland and Mary is from Ireland, and a little more than 10 years ago, Mary encouraged Vincent to use his natural ability as a chef and beer-maker to make wine. “He found he was a total natural at wine-making,” she said. The wine made by Boutier Winery made mostly from Georgia grown grapes, and winery recently bought its own 32-acre vineyard in Danielsville. A second winery will open there this summer, and Joyce Savage, owner of the aforementioned Memories in Woodstock, will open an adjoining bed and breakfast. Boutier specializes in individual labels, allowing a company, a restaurant, a family, or a couple to name one of the eight different Boutier varietals after themselves. The wine is available at Bullock’s liquor store in Towne Lake.

(As printed in The Cherokee Ledger News by Carolyn Matthews, April 2, 2008)

Please check sites linked above for current information on each product.

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