Oma and Popie’s marinades and more
By: Kayli Corbin
Photography by Kimberlee Miller
Defining moments in life push us to take a leap of faith and explore passion, purpose, and growth. A few short years ago, Jan and Gail Zarr were at a fulcrum point and had to make a decision about their future. Would they stay in Kentucky and continue Jan’s 22-year career as Executive Director for a Performance Arts Center? Or, was it time to dive into their adventure of making delicious sauces?
While spending time with friends in a local wing bar/diner, they offered up their home-made sauce from mason jars for feedback. They slathered naked wings and delighted the palettes of every person at the table. This sauce was such a hit, the owner offered to purchase the recipe, and that sealed the deal on their leap of faith. Oma and Popie’s was born, and they headed back to Idahome to pursue a career in the specialty food business.
Family is incredibly important to Oma and Popie, and their down-home, comfortable vibe is apparent in all they do. This dynamic duo is the embodiment of neighborly kindness and passion for sharing what they love. The transition from a 2-gallon spaghetti pot to a commercial kitchen with 40-gallon batches was no easy task, and took incredible amounts of dedication and high-quality ingredients to perfect. Using as many locally sourced ingredients as possible is the foundation of their creations. You won’t find artificial flavors, colors, unpronounceable chemicals, gluten, soy, nuts or high fructose corn syrup in anything they produce. Rest assured, an increase in production doesn’t take away from their freshly handcrafted, small batches.
What started as a wing sauce, quickly expanded to a diverse selection of delectable additions to any meal. Popie shared, “We believe in surprising people who love food with unique flavor profiles, clean ingredients, and amazing tastes that are handcrafted from scratch. Our all-natural pepper blend marinades and seasonings are created to make serving wholesome succulent meals uncomplicated when there’s no time to cook.”
Their signature sauce, Wingin’ It, is a harmonious blend of sweet and spicy. However, Oma likes it hot, so she crafted Hawt Mess to include jalapeños and habaneros. If you’re interested in a bit more heat and less sweet, this flavor has your name on it. This is the hottest of their selection, but won’t leave you feeling the intensity of the peppers without giving you all the amazing flavor. Each of their sauces offers a unique insight into Oma and Popie’s personal flavor preferences and gives you a first-hand taste of your new favorite sauce.
You can find Oma and Popie’s smiling faces on bottles of sauce at a variety of Idaho establishments including Albertson’s on Broadway, Boise Co-Op, and Natural Grocers to name a few. Check out omaandpopies.com for recipes using their versatile sauces and rubs, or follow them on social media to keep up to date on where you can meet this adorable couple in real life. We promise you won’t regret it!