Bob Scala always appreciated the raves he’d get for his homemade sundried tomato and parsley spreads. His friends and family would devour the bright, colorful purees with crackers, over pasta and as sandwich toppers. They’d urge him to go professional, but he never really took them seriously.
Yet, when his job as a Wall Street commodities trader ended – and he and his wife Donna faced other life changes – they wondered if Bob’s signature spreads might offer a fresh start. The Deer Park couple whipped up a batch of jars with homemade labels and set up a table at a high school event. The spreads were a sellout and Bobby Tomatoes Tomato Delight and Parsley Delight were born.
These days, the couple is producing several hundred containers a week at the Taste of Long Island professional kitchen, and selling product at the kitchen’s Farmingdale storefront, on the web and at local farmers markets throughout Nassau and Suffolk. Tomato Delight is a bold and savory concoction of sundried tomatoes, garlic and olive oil and Parsley Delight pops with a lively, herbaceous flavor.
An accomplished home cook, Bob is the heart and soul of the Bobby Tomatoes brand. He is modest about their progress as entrepreneurs and calls the business “a work in progress.” He says the secret ingredient is a touch of anchovy and thinks the fresh flavor is a key selling point. He loves to hear how Long Islanders are using the spreads.
The couple really seems to thrive on the positive feedback and hometown support they get from customers at farmers markets. It’s as if their clientele has become their extended family.
“They love the fact that we’re from Long Island and they’re proud,” says Donna. “It’s such a boost of adrenaline.”
Visit Bobby Tomatoes’ website at www.bobbytomatoes.com.
T.W. Barritt blogs at culinarytypes.blogspot.com