Eric Vierra, owner of The Good Jar, visited Ranch Foods Direct last month during Farm Stand Friday; to meet customers and hand out samples of his pickles, relishes and deliciously unique rhubarb-fig spread. Pickling and preserving started out as his passion, but eventually it turned into something more. “I decided the culmination of all of my talents would be to have my own business,” he says.

Eric is just one of many Colorado Proud food entrepreneurs featured in the store and distributed by Peak To Plains Food Distributing.

Here’s more about Eric:

HOME TURF: Eric lives in Boulder and packs his products at a commercial kitchen in Longmont. “We hand pack every jar, either myself or a member of my family. The dilly beans, in particular, take a lot of time to make, but they’re also my best seller.”

ORIGINALLY FROM: New England. He misses the ocean and the pizza, but that’s about it. “I don’t think I could have done this company back there. Out here there is so much produce available and such great growers.”

PREVIOUS CAREER: Graphic design: “It’s been a lot of fun having myself as a client. I saved $50,000 by designing my own label and doing all of the company branding myself. I’ve had a lot of good feedback on it.”

FAVORITE PRODUCT: Piccadilli, a traditional green tomato relish. “It’s my grandmother’s recipe.”

ON SOURCING COLORADO INGREDIENTS: The rhubarb for the jam comes from High Altitude Rhubarb in Black Forest and another farm near Longmont. “I would say 50 to 90 percent of the ingredients in my relishes come from Colorado. That’s a big focus of my company: staying close to home.”

AS FOR THE FIGS… “I use dried California black mission figs in my jam. I didn’t want it to be super-sweet; I wanted it to be on the savory side, so it has a touch of pink peppercorn too.”

FUTURE PRODUCTS: “I’d love to introduce more tomato items, including tomato preserves.”

IS PICKLING STILL FUN? “I don’t pickle when I’m home for the day. It’s not a quaint, little hobby for me anymore – but that’s a good thing!”

COOKING STYLE: “Adventurous, but old-fashioned too. I’m a big fan of comfort food: spaghetti sauces, casseroles and beef stews.”

HAS HE TRIED RANCH FOODS DIRECT MEAT? “Yes, the rib-eye steak I had was fantastic! I love getting locally raised stuff. I always insist on getting my eggs fresh from the farm.”

Eric’s full line of pickles, preserves and jams is available every day at Ranch Foods Direct!