Wining & Dining
The Jelly with a Bite
9/1/2017 12:55:37 PM
Bulldog Pepper Jelly

What happens when you mix two sassy, creative sisters with 85 years of farm-to-table tradition? You get Bulldog Pepper Jelly, handcrafted jellies made by Westlake natives Kim Johnson White and Cindy Johnson Anders that are blazing a delicious path toward success in the specialty food market. 

The business began on a small scale nine years ago when the sisters inherited their great-grandparents’ small farmhouse and rich farmland in Lone Pine, Louisiana, near Forest Hill, "The Nursery Capitol of the World.”  

White moved to the farm where her love of cooking was fueled by the fresh ingredients so readily available. "My Aunt Jean had always made a pepper jelly that was a family favorite. With the heat of the long, hot summers in Central Louisiana, our peppers on the farm grow in abundance. I used her recipe and began to experiment with it, adding pecans and different flavors. That’s how it all began.” 

White says the inspiration for the name and tagline came from her two French Bulldogs, Jolie Blanc (Jo Jo) and Rocco: "Bulldog Pepper Jelly, the jelly with a bite.”

At first, White just made jelly for family and friends. She started getting requests from people to purchase jellies for gifts, so she started selling jars. Then she went to a small craft show and sold everything she brought with her. More trade shows, fairs and events followed, with Anders jumping in to help when needed. Orders poured in. It soon became evident that there was bigger potential here, so Anders partnered with White to join in full time.

The farm had two dedicated gardens for the growing of pepper plants. "We raised Jalapeño, Habanero and Serrano for our assorted jellies,” explains Anders. These and all of our ingredients are fresh and pesticide-free, grown naturally, year-round. Our strawberry pepper jelly is made using locally-grown strawberries. Our pecans are harvested from our own hundred-year-old pecan trees.”

White says they have created several unique flavors of pepper jellies, "some that are sweet and savory, and others that are loaded with seasonal fruits. We have four flavors available throughout the year, Jalapeño, Roasted Garlic, Roasted Pecan and Strawberry, and then we create seasonal flavors.” 

With the support of family, friends and loyal customers, the sisters quickly outgrew the farmhouse kitchen for production. "We realized we were going to have to expand production to meet demand, but we were worried about losing quality and consistency, something that was very important to us,” said White. "Remember, this all started with a family recipe, and we feel strongly about protecting the integrity of that. It took us a while to find a production partner we trusted, but now that we have, the growth has been incredible!” 

Today, Bulldog products are in over 100 stores in seven states, with more being added each week. In mid-September, they will launch a Kickstarter campaign to take their company to the next level.  

This year’s fall flavors, Cranberry Pecan and Kadota Fig, will also be available in mid-September. 

White says success is not without growing pains, but going through this process with her sister has made all the trials and tribulations of starting a business much easier. "I wouldn’t want to go through this with anyone else.”  

Anders agrees. "It’s been a blessing and an amazing journey. We can’t wait to see where it takes us!” 

Bulldog Pepper Jelly is available at several local retailers. For a complete list, and for more information about the Kickstarter campaign, visit their website www.bulldogpepperjelly.com. You can also follow their Facebook and Instagram pages for updates and recipes.
Posted by: Kristy Armand | Submit comment | Tell a friend

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