Big P makes salsa and pepper jellies in Franklin: Acadiana Makers


Jason Turner isn’t afraid to try.

Nothing? Really.

When he sees a problem to solve or someone does something interesting, his first thought tends to be, “It can’t be that hard.” And then there goes.

“The worst you can do is mess it up, throw it away, and try again,” Turner said.

On weekdays he’s a technical service engineer for a natural gas company, but on weeknights and weekends he’s in his kitchen in Franklin, whipping up his spicy salsa, pepper jelly, or chow chow” from world-renowned”, which is akin to a relish.

He works to use as many local produce as possible, picking peppers from his own garden and persimmons from his brother-in-law’s tree to add to his mix of jellies and jams.

“I use whatever fruit I can get my hands on,” Turner said.

He pours them into jars, puts his label on them, and prepares them for shipping or for his stand at the last local market, selling them as Grand P’s World Famous Homemade Goods.

Turner, 55, named his business after what his grandson, Dexter, calls it. The nickname is short for grandfather, French for grandfather.

‘What does it hurt to try?’

It all started with his wife, Mary. She loves salsa and eats it regularly. After running out multiple times and not going to the store to buy more, Turner had her usual thought, “It can’t be that hard to make salsa.”

He started testing recipes and got it the way they liked it, with big chunks of tomatoes and not too much liquid.

“I would make a big batch and fill the cupboards,” he said.

Mary was ready, and the extra would go to friends and family as gifts, especially during the holidays. He handed out jars whenever he tried something new, and eventually they convinced him to sell them.

“What does it hurt to try?” he said.

His first was a stall in December at the Bayou to Main Market in Franklin and was pleasantly surprised to find his marmalades and salsas on sale.

“People like to know it’s homemade,” Turner said. “I think a big draw is knowing it’s made locally.”

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At the Franklin Farmer’s Market, many conversations start about ingredients and turn into, “I think you knew my mom and dad,” he said with a smile.

“There’s a lot of that; there’s a kind of connection,” he said.

What are the best sellers?

Turner is also having success beyond Acadiana by sharing his deals on LinkedIn, which has earned him orders as far away as Texas and Pennsylvania so far.

Its top sellers are its Spicy Salsa and Andouille sausage, which comes with a tongue-in-cheek label that “animals were definitely harmed in the making of this”, and one of its newest items, Black Bean Salsa and corn, is on the rise.

Franklin's Jason Turner makes jams, pepper jellies, salsa and more with local produce like

Turner is always on the lookout for new ideas and recipes to try or try again. He is in a hurry to find the pudding again, which he has not quite mastered yet. It has the right flavor, but it comes out too dry, he said.

And with his satsuma tree blooming again after a barren season last year, he plans to have marmalade to spare.

Contact Leigh Guidry, Children’s Issues Reporter, at [email protected] or on Twitter @LeighGGuidry.

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