PITTSTON — A pantry staple is getting a local twist.
Amos Valenti got the idea for Pittston Ketchup Co. with business partner Corey Golden after sitting in a restaurant on the West Coast where there was no national brand of ketchup on each table.
“Everything was locally branded,” said Valenti, 36, who said he wanted to bring that notion to his hometown. “Then when you consider everything that’s happening in Pittston, the Quality Tomato Capital of the World, that’s how it got started.”
Valenti, who grew up in Pittston but now lives in Dallas, said the team spent a year getting their company off the ground, and now, after finding a space to cook their condiment, they’re ready to sell.
Pittston Ketchup Co. products are available at Purple Squirrel Pastry Co. on Main Street in Pittston and at Chic Chic Marketplace on Wyoming Avenue in Forty Fort. Customers can also buy the ketchup online at pittstonketchup.com.
They make the ketchup at a kitchen incubator located at the Carbondale Technology Transfer Center in small batches — between 300 and 400 bottles at a time.
“Eventually we would like to have our own facility, and employ people in the area,” Valenti said.
All the ingredients used to make the ketchup are from Pennsylvania, and if they can’t find what they need in state, their suppliers are Pennsylvania-based, Valenti said.
“We really wanted to focus on the community aspect of it,” Valenti said. “We want to make people proud of the place where they’re from.”
Valenti, an estimator and project manager for M. Abraham Flooring in Wilkes-Barre, said that while he worked in the restaurant industry throughout his life and enjoys experimenting with food, it was Golden who developed the recipe for the tomato-based condiment.
“We don’t use high fructose corn syrup, it’s cane sugar,” he said. “It’s all natural and you get the taste of the tomato. It has half the sugar of leading brands, and there’s a slight heat at the end with the cayenne pepper.”
Valenti said the idea was to make a condiment that complements the food it’s paired with and avoid strong flavors that would give it its own identity.
“You can actually taste the tomato,” he said. The recipe uses Furmano’s brand tomatoes, which are grown and canned in Pennsylvania. “It’s definitely unique.”
The company plans to develop other condiments, like an old-world-style tomato relish using locally-grown ingredients and a spicier version of their ketchup recipe. Valenti said the team is working with local chefs to create ideas for other condiment recipes.
Reach Sarah Hite Hando at 570-704-3945.
Find Pittston Ketchup Co. products at Purple Squirrel Pastry Co., 8 N. Main St., Pittston, at Chic Chic Marketplace, 970 Wyoming Ave., Forty Fort, or online at pittstonketchup.com.