From Safta to the Shelves: Cured + Crisp Launches a New Line of Family-Inspired Tomato Sauces

How does a BLT bite lead to a line of delicious tomato sauces? Just ask Chef Eron Picus, founder of Cured and Crisp. Eron sliced his way into the packaged food world with his ethically sourced, deliciously seasoned line of bacon and breakfast sausage patties in July 2019. Eron’s passion for making clean-sourced, flavorful packaged goods didn’t stop with bacon. After recognizing a tasty gap in the tomato sauce market - similar to what he saw in the world of bacon - Eron set out to create a line of tomato sauces that his grandmother (Safta, in Hebrew) would be proud of. He developed Safta’s: tomato sauces that are rich in flavor and without added sugars or artificial preservatives. 

Cured and Crisp is a DC-based food manufacturing company inspired by Chef Eron’s passion for all things pork--bacon, sausage, and breakfast patties. While Cured and Crisp was officially founded last year, its origins date back to a blind date with his now wife, Sarah, set up by none other than their moms! In a true full circle moment, Cured and Crisp launched a line of tomato sauces based on his grandmother (and now his own mother to his children), Safta’s recipe. While it may seem like a big pivot from bacon to tomato sauce, Chef Eron wanted to bring his passion for clean, ethically sourced, delicious food to a more vegetarian-friendly product. Moreover, after spending many years in professional kitchens and running his own catering company, Chef Eron decided that he wanted to help people make professional-quality foods in their own homes - and what’s better than a product that can be used in pizza and pasta! 

With this in mind, Chef Eron noticed the growing demand for comfort staple items in the midst of the pandemic. His mind immediately went to something that was always a comfort item for him growing up, his Safta’s tomato sauce. Tomato sauce dates back to years before Chef Eron’s Safta; tomato sauce was first introduced to the Italian diet in the 1800s. 

But today, there aren’t a lot of sauces available that are packed with flavor and don’t have added sugars and artificial preservatives. Chef Eron’s decades in the kitchen as a professional chef equipped him well for developing a well-balanced and delightful sauce.The tedious process Chef Eron uses to make his sauce is a reflection of his expertise. While most commercial tomato sauces have to add sugar to keep their sauce shelf stable and flavorful, Eron slow cooks the fruits (tomatoes are a fruit!) and vegetables in his sauce to release the bounty of flavor packed in his high-quality, locally sourced ingredients.

It also helped that he had his Safta’s recipe passed down for generations. His children now refer to his own mother as Safta and Chef Eron notes, “my mom is super proud that there’s a sauce line named after her.” 

The path to launching his line of tomato sauces wasn’t always easy. Developing a sauce that was true to his grandmother’s authentic sauce and something that consumers want was challenging. Additionally, Chef Eron had to consider the best way to package his sauce--how large should the jar be? What shape? And the label? Eron used his expertise as a professional chef, his prior knowledge from launching his packaged bacon line, and advice from the Union Kitchen Accelerator team to fine tune Safta’s Sauces. Today, we all get to enjoy the wonderful creation now available on Union Kitchen shelves and at the Cured and Crisp online store.  

Using clean, locally sourced ingredients, Safta’s sauces delivers flavor without any added sugars or artificial preservatives. Chef Eron is excited to be launching three different flavors of tomato sauce: Classic, Arrabbiata, and Balsamic Basil. The Classic is just as the name implies--a simple, yet delicious take on your traditional tomato sauce. The Arrabbiata keeps things spicy with a hot twist on a classic sauce. And Balsamic Basil is an herbaceous and tangy take on tomato sauce. 

Those looking to try Cured and Crisp’s three new tomato sauce flavors can find it online and at Union Kitchen locations. We recommend trying out Safta’s sauces on your favorite pasta or a fresh baguette!