Northshore Magazine

Northshore January February 2021

Northshore magazine showcases the best that the North Shore of Boston, MA has to offer.

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91 pierogi recipes. At Vanessa's kitchen table, they started making their own pierogi. ey'd share their work with friends, who would offer feedback on the product. en they'd tinker with the recipe and start the process over again. Eventually they found the winning recipe and started production, borrowing commercial- grade kitchen space from a butcher in Beverly and chose the company name to honor their grandfather, who they called "Jaju," an Americanized version of the Polish word for grandfather. e sisters started selling their wares at farmers' markets and pop-up events, where the pierogi were an immediate success. "At first I thought only that Polish people would be attracted to our product," Casey says. "But no, dumplings are dumplings. ey're comfort food." As the business grew, they moved to a production facility in Gloucester, sharing space with another food start-up. But it was soon clear that each company needed its own facilities. e Whites then built out their own commercial kitchen, renovating a space in a 19th-century factory in Lynn. ey moved in May 2018. ey also made the switch to using a machine to assemble the pierogi; until that point, they had been making 8,000 pierogi by hand each week. ough they have experimented with some unusual flavors and monthly specials, the sisters have now settled into a lineup of five flavors, a mix of the classic and the creative: potato and cheese, sweet potato and caramelized onion, cabbage and mushroom, spinach and feta, and jalapeño cheddar. ey suggest preparing them simply: pan-fried, accompanied by sour cream, sauerkraut, and maybe some kielbasa. "We make things people like, but we don't like to make them complicated," Vanessa says. e coronavirus pandemic has had a huge influence on the company's sales. As people began avoiding both grocery stores and restaurants, demand for frozen foods soared. Suddenly, distributors were ordering five to six times as many packages of pierogi as they had been. "We had to learn quickly how to keep up with that," Casey says. "We were fortunate that we were able to grow throughout COVID-19." Now the company is considering a move into another new facility to help it keep up with its growth—and its ambitions. Vanessa and Casey hope to keep scaling up the business, expanding sales nationwide. Achieving this vision will almost certainly mean adding equipment and space. Even as they keep their eyes on national expansions, the sisters still spend plenty of time throughout New England at farmers' markets or serving up freshly fried pierogi at music festivals and pop-ups in collaboration with breweries. "We've really built our business on that hustling, road show model," Vanessa says. So, after five straight years of immersion in pierogi, do the sisters still eat their own product? Absolutely, they say. Vanessa's favorite is the spinach and feta, and she happily eats damaged pierogi during the production process. Casey, whose preferred pierogi is a kielbasa and red pepper combo that is not currently on the market, still eats the dumplings whenever she works a pop-up event, she says. "I definitely still crave them every weekend." The Whites have built their own commercial property in Lynn to make 8,000 pierogi each week.

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