When a co-owner of an area vineyard and winery was on the verge of introducing a line of flavor-infused cooking oils made from cottonseed oil, she believed it was a can’t-miss venture.
Nearly a year later and with the oils attracting attention from consumers around the world, Sarah Botham is even more confident of the product launched by Botham Brands, the parent company of Botham Vineyards & Winery in Barneveld.
Sold under the brand name Acala Farms, the oils were one of 34 emerging food products featured in the prestigious “New Brands on the Shelf” pavilion at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York.
The show, which ran from June 30 to July 2, is the largest marketplace for specialty foods and beverages in North America.
“There sure was interest in it there. Whether that interest translates into long-term relationships or more retail orders, that remains to be seen. But if one-quarter of those continue to show interest, we’ll be in good shape,” Botham said.
The oils are the only flavored cottonseed variety available to consumers and Botham hopes they can continue to grab a share of the boutique cooking and dipping oil market.
She added that the oils are an excellent base for frying, searing, sauteing and stir-frying because of their purity, lightweight body and high smoke point.
They also can be drizzled on pasta, vegetables, popcorn and salads, and can be used as for dipping much like olive oil, she added.
Initially, five flavors — garlic, chipotle, cilantro, jalapeno-lime and habanero — were available for purchase in 5-ounce bottles at acala-farms.com or at Metcalfe’s Market stores, Miller and Sons in Mount Horeb and at Botham’s winery.
Three more flavors — sweet guajillo pepper, curry spice and fried shallot — as well as 8-ounce bottles have been added, said Botham, who owns Botham Vineyards & Winery with her husband, Peter Botham.
Botham said two more flavors — toasted cumin and chile spice cumin — will be introduced soon.
After that, the next move may be moving the manufacturing operation from Tennessee to Wisconsin, Botham said.
She is looking at potential sites and hopes to make a decision whether to move later this summer.
“When I think that this business isn’t a year old yet, the distance we’ve already traveled is pretty big and I’m anxious to see where we are one year from now or even six months from now,” Botham said.
— Rob Schultz