Wrangler News - "Bored with condiments? Relish This!"

By Elan Head
Wrangler News

Judy Egge makes a mean relish. How else to put it? Egge's vegetable relishes are sweet, tangy and spicy in various pitch-perfect combinations--instant classics when paired with deviled eggs, tuna salad or even plain cream cheese.

They make an instant thousand island dressing and crab rolls worthy of any country club. And they may be the best thing for hot dogs since buns.

If Egge were your sister or your aunt, you would beg, wheedle and whine for a bottle of her homemade, old-fashioned, perfectly versatile condiment.

Since Egge is in business, though, you don't have to. Laying your hands on one is as easy as hitting the nearest AJ's Purveyors of Fine Foods.

This Kyrene Corridor resident has had her relishes on local shelves for about a year. Labeled "Relish This!," her products are made with good wholesome ingredients--zucchini, bell peppers, onions and natural flavorings--and come in three permutations.

Egge debuted her line with sweet-and-tangy and sweet-and-spicy relishes. She has since added a hot-and-spicy relish, a terrific recipe that packs habañero firepower but serious flavor, too.

Relish This! was inspired by a Mennonite product that Egge says she purchased at a roadside stand in Canada. Thanks to frequent trips up north, she kept her kitchen stocked with this bottled relish for years.

But when her source dried up, Egge was forced to innovate.

"I couldn't live without this product, so I started playing with recipes," she says.

At first, "nothing that I seemed to make had the flavor I wanted," she recalls. Finally, however, she hit upon something exactly right. She took it to friends and "they were, like, ‘Oh my God, Judy, this is delicious.'"

Meanwhile, Egge had found herself unemployed after 20 years of marketing food products to grocery stores. She wanted her own business; relish seemed like the perfect product. She took a deep breath, finagled her financing, and plunged in.

Now, a year later, "I haven't had a day off since I started the business," she says. "I demo my product almost every weekend."

That hard work seems to be paying off, though, as buzz surrounding her products continues to grow. Relish This! has been featured on the Food Network as a "Food Find," and Egge and her products have been profiled in The Arizona Republic and the Chicago Tribune.

Michael Hoobler, executive chef at the Boulders Resort in Carefree, has called Egge's relishes "outstanding."

"It is the best relish I have ever tasted," he says in a testimonial on Egge's website.

And Relish This! is even attracting notice abroad. Recently, different companies have expressed an interest in exporting Relish This! to Australia and to Canada.

"I constantly find new customers, every day," she says. "I just need to keep growing."

Expect Egge to do whatever it takes. Her enthusiasm for her product hasn't flagged.

"I called it Relish This! because I do," Egge says.

Judy, we do, too.