Montclair resident James Colistra is turning his weekend ketchup-making hobby into a small business with the help of crowdfunding.
Using Kickstarter, Colistra hopes to raise enough money to produce, bottle and distribute his Farmer Jim’s Tomato Ketchup to a marketplace he says is void of healthy and tasty alternatives to leading brands.
Farmer Jim’s ketchup is made with tomatoes, honey and molasses, which are nutrient-rich foods, he said. Apple cider vinegar and several “secret spices” complete the recipes, including a Spicy Chipotle variety.
“Kids love ketchup and there is clearly an obesity epidemic underway,” said the 30-year-old, who has a day job doing market research for The Economist. “If I can make a small dent not only in the condiment marketplace, but also in the waistlines of young kids, I will consider that a success.”
Colistra said he will use Kickstarter funds to “make lots of ketchup.” He will also reward investors with stickers, tote bags and tickets to The First Annual Farmer Jim's Hamburger Hullabalooa barbecue at Fitzgerald’s in Glen Ridge in late July.
Colistra learned bottling from his dad who made his own hot sauce, using carrots and habanero peppers grown in the family’s garden.
Aside from ketchup, Colistra makes his own hot sauce and salsa for friends.
“I think it is cool how you can put all of your creativity into something, package it, and then weeks later someone will come across it on the store shelf and take it home to experience it.”
The ultimate goal is to raise enough money to develop nutrition facts, a UPC code and get a wholesaling license, which are required to be on major grocery store shelves.
Initially, the ketchup will be available online and at farmers markets this summer.
To support Colistra's venture, go to Farmer Jim's Tomato Ketchup page on Kickstarter.