Skaneateles What do you do when you have just retired (sort of) and have your grandmother’s handwritten recipe for green tomato chutney which you use each fall to make jars and jars of the condiment? When your kitchen is constantly filled with a sharp pungent odor, steam rising from the canning pan and jars of chutney cover the counter?
For years John Dyson of Skaneateles has been making his chutney for an ever-widening number of friends and family who love the stuff and have faithfully kept the used jars to return them for a refill. But production in his kitchen is getting out of hand.
“Once you know how it tastes and how it can enhance meats and just about anything else including sandwiches, you are hooked,” said Dyson, a former corporate business manager, who retired in 2007.
Last year Dyson’s son-in-law, Doug Pinckney, Jr. of Pinckney Hugo Advertising in Syracuse, encouraged him to expand his hobby and make the chutney for consumers. So began months of getting a producer lined up — in this case Nelson Farms in Morrisville — government approvals and test runs to perfect the taste, color and texture, a process Dyson oversaw.
Chris Pinckney, also a son-in-law and creative director for Pinckney Hugo, designed the labels, a cheerful yellow and green.
“It’s amazing all the steps you need to take to take a recipe from the home kitchen to the market shelf,” said Dyson, who formed a new company, Dyson Products LLC, for his product. “Now the trick is getting the word out there, to get people to try it.”
One roadblock, Dyson has learned, is that many people don’t even know what chutney is. He eventually realized people would have to taste it first before they would buy it. So he now carries a jar of his chutney along with crackers and spoons whenever he goes to business meetings so potential buyers can sample his creation.