Local Vendor Spotlight: Green Light Jerky
If you’ve known Matthew and Denise Klapper for a few years, you’re likely one of the lucky recipients of an early batch of the now-famous Green Light Jerky…before it hit the “lime light.”
The Klappers, both life-long jerky lovers, started making their own when the couple learned more about what goes into most jerky sold in stores…liquid smoke, artificial preservatives…the list goes on and on. The two knew they could make a more healthy option and began making batches in their home using fresh and locally sourced ingredients coupled with a process that avoided the need for liquid smoke, added sugar or preservatives.
Once the recipe was perfected, the Klappers shared the jerky with friends and family as holiday gifts. The Klapper’s jerky was always a welcomed treat amongst family and friends; everyone raved about its quality and encouraged the couple to see if they could sell it in stores. It wasn’t until about four years ago they finally caved from all the (friendly, of course) peer pressure and decided to try their hand at retail sales.
Just like so many of our other small, local vendors, their first stop was Sigona’s.
The Klappers are long time Sigona’s fans; they’ve been shopping with us for 20 years! When the couple first started making jerky they sourced many of their seasoning and spices from Sigona’s. When the time came, pitching their business to Sigona’s seemed like the most obvious first step.
“I called and called John Nava to gauge his interest in a meeting,” said Matthew. “I knew Nava was the right contact, and though I now know how insanely busy he is every day, I thought at the time he was ignoring my calls. Two days after I left what I told myself would be the last message, I got a call back.”
“I love a guy who is persistent,” said John Nava, specialty foods buyer for Sigona’s. “I recognized Matthew right away as a customer and thanked him for his perseverance because this is some of the best jerky I’ve ever tasted. Flavor #32 is my absolute favorite. #32 is named “PRD” and is seasoned with rosemary, thyme and horseradish so it tastes just like a Prime Rib dinner. I mean, who doesn’t like Prime Rib?”
Green Light Jerky is not too thick and chewy, nor is it too thin and crisp. It’s perfectly in the middle and what’s more is it contains no MSG, nitrates, liquid smoke, added sugar and the only salt added comes from soy sauce if it’s in the recipe so it has a significantly lower salt content than most other jerky. Also, they use a USDA approved, lean, high quality top round cut of beef so the product is 97 percent fat free and it is a great source of protein.
With retail outlets secured, Green Light Jerky needed a bigger production facility and contracted with one of the best in the area. Stafford Meat, a USDA inspected facility, is located a bit north of San Francisco which allows the Klappers to keep an eye on production and be as involved in the process as they desire. The Klappers and their 1-year-old son Aiden make regular trips to the facility to ensure quality and consistency of the recipes, which are made with ingredients sourced as locally as possible, such as fresh herbs from George Chiala Farms in Morgan Hill, CA, Fred’s horseradish from Paynes Creek, CA, and Perfect Puree from the Napa Valley, CA.
We’re not the only ones that love this Jerky. The company has been featured on the “Food Guy and Marcy Show” radio program hosted by Guy Fieri and Marcy Smothers (listen here, starts about 1/3 of the way in), and was featured last summer at the Celebrity Food Show in Anaheim. Also among their list of accolades is an inclusion in the book 500 Things to Eat Before It’s Too Late, by Jane and Michael Stern, which landed them proclamation presented by the city of Redwood City on September 14th, 2009!
Green Light Jerky Company assigns a number to each of their flavors, in the order of which they were developed. Right now they have seven USDA-approved flavors, five of which are available for retail sales. Their brainstorming team has come up with more than 60 different flavors so far.
We are very happy for Matthew, Denise and Aiden and we’re excited to offer this protein-packed product in our store. Seeing that the company name (which Matthew attributes to his city-boy roots as most other jerky brand names are a reflection of the great outdoors) we figured this would be a great bonus offer during St. Patrick’s Day! See the coupon in the e-newsletter and come in to get a taste for yourself with two free bags of Green Light Jerky!
Please share your thoughts with us about Green Light Jerky and we’ll pass them along to The Klappers!