Just how picky are you?

Picky People's Pickles

Sweet and spicey dill pickles with a touch of heat, 16 oz. jar - $7.99

Picky People's Salsa

Old fashioned regular spicy salsa, 16 oz.(454g) jar - $8.50

Old fashioned HOT spicy salsa, 16 oz.(454g) jar - $8.50

A little about me...

My story starts at a point in my life when I had just realized three things:

  1. I had a dream
  2. I was determined to follow it
  3. I was wasting time

I remembered that as a young girl I loved watching my grandmother in the kitchen canning fruits and vegetables from her gardens. I remembered, too, just how good thefood tasted.I knew even then that one day I would be in my own kitchn canning produce from my own garden.

Starting work with Aromatique in 1985 and marrying my husband Scott Balderee in 1987, my life settled into a happy, busy routine that pushed the dream to the back of the stove, and there it simmered for years.

Eventually I began my hand at canning and fell in love with it. At first I put up salsa and pickles, two of my favorites, and started giving them to family and friends. They wanted more, saying that the store-bought varieties just didn't taste as good. So we kept canning and canning and canning.

JuJu's Kitchen was born in January 2012. Here we are today, still chasing that dream, sharing our homemade products with you, and looking forward to offering even more products in the years to come.

Picky People's Skillet Dip

1 lb grd sausage / 2 ripe avacados / 16 oz Velvetta / 1 1/2 cups Picky People's Salsa / 1/2 cup sour cream / 1/4 tsp garlic powder / 1/2 cup pickled jalepenos, minced / 1/2 tsp lemon juice

Cook sausage in large skillet until done, crumbling into small pieces. Turn heat down and add Velveeta cheese and let melt on low heat. Peel avocado and puree, add to skillet along with sour cream, garlic powder, jalepenos and lemon juice. Let flavors blend on low heat for a few minutes and serve with tortilla chips, quesadillas, nachos, etc.

Picky People's Mexican Soup

2 T butter / 1 tsp minced garlic / 1 bunch chopped green onions / 2 T flour / 1 14oz can chicken broth / 2 cups water & 2 tsp chicken bullion granules / 2 cups Skim Milk / 1 cup Picky People's Salsa (Regular or Hot) / 1 can Refried Beans / 1 can chopped green chiles / 1 tsp sea salt / pepper to taste / tortilla chips / shredded cheese / sour cream / avocado

Melt butter in large pot over med heat. Add the garlic and grn onions. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add flour, and stir well cooking for at least 2 minutes. Add broth and water mixed with bullion and milk. Stir in salsa, refried beans, chicken, jalapeños, and green chillies. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring often. Crumble chips into bowl and top with soup. Garnish each with sour cream, cheese and avocado.

Picky People's Salsa Ranch Dip

8 oz cream cheese softened / 8 oz sour cream / 1 envelope ranch dip (dry mix) / 8 oz picky people's hot or regular salsa

Mix all ingredients together and top with fresh cilantro and chopped green onions.

Heber Springs resident spices up second job

By Emily Van Zandt - November 8, 2012 - from Arkansas Online

HEBER SPRINGS — Reaching age 50 may signal a midlife crisis for some, but Judy Balderree is more focused than ever. The lifelong Heber Springs resident launched her own food-gifts line in January. Now, Juju’s Kitchen’s products are sold in around 75 stores in the Midwest. She’s hoping to hit 100 stores before her milestone birthday in February.

“I figured, I’m not getting any younger,” Balderree said. “I’ve always wanted something of my own.”

So she decided to do something many dream of doing, especially in this economy. Balderree turned a hobby into a profit-making side business. After spending many years as a child putting up cans of tomatoes and green beans with her grandparents, Balderree had taken up canning on her own after she was married. Soon, it was on to homemade salsas and pickles. Her friends were raving.

“I’d hand them out as gifts, and people always wanted more,” Balderree said.

There’s something about a home-grown recipe that means more flavor, Balderree said. Thinking the flavors, local ties and vintage-inspired packaging might be a hit with gift stores and boutique grocers, she set out to make Juju’s Kitchen — the name comes from her longtime nickname — official.

An out-of-town co-packer was entrusted with Balderree’s recipes, taking on production and packaging of Picky People’s Pickles and Picky People’s Salsa for the company. “There are so many regulations for selling things home-canned that this was really the best solution,” Balderree said.

The salsas may not be mixed in her own kitchen, but Balderree is still involved in the process, tasting samples along the way to ensure that everything is coming out the way she’d make it herself. She even drives to pick up her own stock to deliver. The jars of goods are sold in around 75 stores in Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee and Oklahoma.

In Heber Springs, the 16-ounce jars can be found for sale at Panache and Main Street Mall. The pickles go for $7.99, the salsa for $8.99. Other stores stocking her goods include Big Cedar Lodge in Branson, Mo., and the Clinton Museum Store in Little Rock. Since January, she has sold about 7,000 jars of pickles and salsa combined.

“I’ll know it’s a success when my phone is ringing every day, … maybe every hour,” Balderree said of the company.

While she’s never owned her own business before, Balderree had a wealth of experience to draw from, thanks to her day job with Heber Springs-based home fragrance company Aromatique. She’s been working within the corporation for more than 25 years, recently taking on managing its Heber Springs store, Panache, as vice president and director of retail sales.

“Just being around the owners of Aromatique, you learn a lot about the retail side of things,” said Balderree, who has used many of her business contacts to help get her canned goods onto shelves. It doesn’t hurt that her boss can’t get enough of her salsa. Though Balderree had hoped to have her products in 100 stores by this time, she’s not worried about the company’s progress. She’s building the business slowly and steadily. She has plans to soon add dill pickles and a party snack mix to her roster of products.

For now, she’s focused on the holiday season. Production has already increased, and Balderree is hosting in-store tastings. “All I usually have to do is go into a store, leave a sample and follow up in a few weeks,” Balderree said. “Really, everyone loves salsa!”

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