By SUSAN ERICSON
With deep roots in Fair Haven, Andrew Schiavetti started a food company with a recipe his mother, Barbara, made for barbecues, and named it after a stream that cuts through town.
The sweet red pepper relish was so popular that family members were expected to bring it with them every time they received an invitation to a Fourth of July party or BBQ.
“This is my tether back to when I was a kid,” says Schiavetti, a Rumson Country Day and RFH alum. Fourth Creek Food Company‘s products provide him “a connection to not just the good times, but remembering family and friends.”
With an MBA in entrepreneurship from Babson College and a stint in wealth management under his belt, Schiavetti was ready to start his own business, and decided to try building one around his mom’s relish recipe. But before launching the operation, he needed to find a commercial kitchen where he could make it, he said.
That turned out to be a challenge. “Most restaurants that I approached were concerned with potential liability,” he said.
But Warren Abramson at Fairwinds Deli, who Schiavetti has known his whole life, readily agreed to let him to use his store’s kitchen, and gave Schiavetti a key to the River Road deli.
“He would cook all night while the deli was closed,” said Abramson.
Operating initially under the name Two River Foods, Schiavetti started selling the relish at local farmers’ markets.
“The farmers’ market was an excellent test, and people reacted enthusiastically to the relish,” he tells PieHole. “I learned what people like about it, how they reacted to it, and how they used it – which was eye-opening, as they would come up with creative uses that I had never thought of.”
He then researched manufacturing and regulations, set up the company, came up with the Fourth Creek brand and built its website.
In the spring of 2011, he was able to expand to more stores in the area.
“That’s when I really got started on a broader level,” he says. Finding success, Fourth Creek has added a second variety with a little more spunk to it, calling it Hint of Habanero.
Currently on the shelves of Whole Foods Markets, Sickles Market, Dearborn Farms Market and several smaller cheese shops, a 12.5-ounce jar sells for around $7.50. It is now produced and packaged in Pennsylvania.
The habanero relish is delicious with chips and a nice change from salsa. The sweet pepper relish adds zing to creamy cheeses, and makes a fine condiment over crab cakes or a pork tenderloin. For more recipes and ideas of how to use the relish, check out Fourth Creek’s menu page.
Hoping to come out with other high end condiments next year, Schiavetti says his parents love that he is doing this.
“Dad is an unofficial board member, while Mom was the inspiration” and functions as the unofficial chief marketing officer, he says. Making his company a tribute to a happy childhood with homegrown memories.