Ketchup. We’ve all found a special way to incorporate it into our diets – alongside French Fries, mixed in with scrambled eggs, atop mac and cheese … the list goes on. But, whether you’re a Ketchup aficionado or not, you’ll have to get your tastebuds ready for something new.
Meet the. and get ready for full Arkansas flavor to dominate the forefront.
Lawyer and sound engineer by day, the joint project between Amber Davis and John Crowley is moving full-steam ahead.
The idea originally came to Davis when she visited Oregon with her husband on a trip, and they noticed a trend when eating out.
“All the restaurants had all kinds of ketchup from different companies,” Davis recalls, “You literally never saw Heinz – it was all of these local offerings.”
When Davis returned she recruited Crowley, and the two began experimenting with tomatoes in the winter of 2016. While perfecting the recipe wasn’t necessarily all that difficult, figuring out how to expand production to a commercial level proved a challenge.
“We could make about half a gallon of ketchup at home, which is not enough to sell to people,” Davis explains, “We looked at different kitchens around town, but it takes 200 pounds of tomatoes to make about 9 gallons of ketchup – plus tomatoes have a ton of water in them so you have to cook them for forever.”
Luckily they were directed to the Arkansas Food Innovation Center at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. While the center doesn’t have the same equipment a commercial ketchup company would need, they have the tools for the duo to get some serious cooking done.
Their current production is a two-day operation, which involves processing the tomatoes, mixing everything together, and cooking the mixture. The resulting mixture is then stored in the fridge for a bit before it’s cooked down even more.
Later this June you’ll have a chance to try their prototype for yourself – what they’re calling their Classic Ketchup. The combination of Arkansas Roma Tomatoes, Honey, Pepper, Sugar, and Spices left us clamoring for more after we tried it.
Think perfectly tangy, slightly acidic, but balanced with a slightly smokey and not-too-sweet finish. You can tell the pepper was freshly ground and the full-flavor is everything.
Even though the duo have a few more hoops to jump through with the FDA, they’re confident they’ll be available to the masses later this summer.
Fans can expect the classic flavor to surface for sure, and with any luck the Arkansas Ketchup Co. will introduce new flavors from Arkansas varietal tomatoes starting next year.
These folks are bringing local to a new level – from the tomatoes and honey they use to the glassware and artwork on their final product – the Arkansas Ketchup Co. is welcome to our ever-growing local food scene.
Keep up with their progress, continue to support their kick-starter, get flavor updates and much more.