Seasoning business sates growing appetite for all things spicy

Phil Castle, The Business Times: 

Dave Booher believes that for every food there is a seasoning. A time to marinade meats, a time to spice up soups and a time to really put the pop into popcorn.

Dave and Debbie Booher prepare, package and sell a line of seasonings made with all-natural salt, jalapeno peppers, garlic and other ingredients. The Boohers also sell their products in gift packs. (Business Times photo by Phil Castle)

And Booher has literally made it his business to supply the unique salts to do the job. “It makes good food better,” he said.

Booher and his wife, Debbie, own and operate the eponymous Grand Junction venture named Dave’s All Natural Jalapeno Salt. The couple prepare, package and sell all-natural salts mixed with jalapeno peppers, garlic and other ingredients.

The enterprise markets products online and also has a new retail venue in Grand Junction in Fisher’s Market, a shop that sells natural meats, produce and other products. In addition, the Boohers have found a customer in O’Charley’s, a chain of 230 restaurants in the eastern United States that uses their salts to season steaks.

Dave’s All Natural Jalapeno Salt is well-positioned to take advantage of a culinary trend, Dave Booher said, in an increasing appetite among consumers for spicy foods and seasonings. “There’s a lot of pepper heads out there. They love this stuff.”

Debbie Booher said the salts are popular precisely because their flavors aren’t subtle. “The flavor is really flamboyant. It is really there.”

And the more salt that’s used, the more pronounced the effect, she said. “It depends on how hot you want it how much you put on.”

Dave Booher said he developed his jalapeno salt through a series of trial-and-error concocting over the course of about 10 years. He uses salt mined from ancient seabeds in Utah and jalapeno peppers grown in Texas near the Mexican border.

After perfecting his jalapeno salt, Dave Booher expanded the line to include salts flavored with garlic and chipotle and hapanero peppers. Still other salts are flavored with hickory and mesquite smoke.

What’s not included in the salts, he said, are fillers or preservatives of any kind. That includes monosodium glutamate, a common food additive that’s been known to trigger headaches and other reactions in some people.

Dave Booher said that to his knowledge, his salts are the only all-natural product of their kind, a difference that gives his business an advantage.

Jay Pollock said he agreed to carry the line of salts at Fisher’s Market in large part because the products are natural and locally produced.

But the salts also taste good, Pollock said, adding he especially likes to season the beef in his tacos with garlic jalapeno. “It’s awesome.”

Debbie Booher said the salts offer a versatile seasoning to marinate meats, spice up soups and flavor popcorn. Adding the salts to ranch dressing makes for quick dips.

And there are still other uses for Dave’s All Natural Jalapeno Salt, everything from flavoring fresh fruits to lining the rims of margarita glasses.

Dave Booher said he heard a story about some of his products that were sent to a U.S. soldier stationed in Iraq who shared the salts with Iraqis who used it on wild goat meat. “It’s a good seasoning for anything,” Dave Booher said.

The Boohers prepare and package their line of salts at home, mixing ingredients, filling bottles and applying labels. They even assemble the boxes for gift packs. The couple sometimes enlists members of their family to help.

The Boohers still have their day jobs. Dave Booher works part-time in his son’s dental lab, while Debbie Booher works as a dental technician.

The Boohers said they hope to promote more awareness and increase sales of their salts,though, to spend more time together with that venture.

In fact, they’d like to grow the business to the extent it could become a legacy for their grandchildren.

In the meantime, Dave Booher presses ahead, confident in his belief that for every food there is a seasoning.


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