About Us

After moving to Galena in 1993, I noticed that there was this wonderful old town and no one was making Grandma's old fashioned canned goods, and after many, many people kept asking me to bottle my sauces, salsas and jams, I decided to give it a try.

While my wife (pregnant at the time) was in Chicago visiting our doctor, I rode my bike up to Walsh's Hardware Store, bought canning jars, pots, etc; went around to local farmers and purchased crops and started the Galena Canning Company.

From day 1, as fast as I could make my products, locals were buying them. So I decided to try my hand at the Farmers Market on Saturdays at the Market House (State Historical Site), setting up my card table, putting out samples, letting people try them and sold out every Saturday. Then came Country Fair Weekend, I worked non-stop for weeks, day and night, making canned goods, salsas, pasta sauce and old fashioned butters.

I am a third generation canner in my family; Grandma did it in Estonia. Then remembering Mom's rule, "You have to use only the best and freshest!" (And also a pinch of Estonian Magic.)

When Country Fair (Columbus Day weekend annually) finally came we set up our booth at the Market House and my wife, 5 months pregnant, said "I'll come back after lunch and bring you some coffee." Well, by the time she came back, I was half asleep from canning all night. She said, "You need to get set up, otherwise you won't sell anything." I proudly told her I sold out in 4 ½ hours. People were buying it by the case and bags full.

Well, the Galena Canning Company was born (and so was our son Max).

After several more markets the phone kept ringing, working closely with local growers like Brenda Lass (formerly The Herb Lady) providing me with only the finest and freshest product, new ideas and moral support. I kept canning. Starting with only two products: our Baja Salsa and Chunky Garden Vegetable Pasta Sauce, we soon added 10 more products

 

Award-winning Galena chef spills the beans...

Have you caught yourself saying "We have to get back to Galena to pick up Galena'mite Blasting Sauce, we are almost out!"

Now you can pick up your favorite hot sauce in 20 U.S. States, Canada, Japan, the Middle East, Germany and Sweden. And the chef hopes to carry his powerful sauce in his homeland, Estonia, soon.

To get the best blend and "local flavor," Chef Ivo Puidak created the Blasting Sauce with several other Galena Residents.

The Sauce...

Galena'mite Blasting Sauce was created 5 years ago, with a secret blend of 20 hot peppers from habanero to jalapeno, vinegar, salt, garlic, chef's spices and 100 percent natural. Most products that claim heat, only have heat. Chef Ivo has kept the fabulous flavors of your favorite peppers too! Notice the flavor, then the heat…WOW.

"We import several types (of peppers)," Ivo said. "...and yet, It is HOT!"

Ivo's wife, Shelly, is credited with the name because of all the old lead mining and the added that Galena'mite Blasting Sauce is "guaranteed to get the lead out!"

As the packaging suggests, this sauce is not for wimps. Keep a pitcher of water handy when trying for the first time!

The Look...

At first, the Blasting Sauce was packed in Mason jars and people couldn't get enough. In spring of 1998, Ivo went on a trip to the Southwest part of the United States, into New Mexico to the Fiery Foods Show to learn more about the Hot & Spicy Foods Industry. He learned and talked to Dave Dewitt, one of the leading experts in hot foods and sauces, suppliers, and marketing.

For Ivo, the light went off, bang. Bang. "We would repackage the Blasting Sauce in a bottle so it would look like a stick of T-N-T," he said. It took about eight months to create a new look. When it was nearly ready, he showed it to several friends and they all agreed Ivo should patent the look so no one could "borrow" the idea for themselves.

The Award...

Ivo entered the Blasting Sauce in several contests to see what Hot & Spicy Industry had to say. The results are in. The not-so-little guy from the little town of Galena received a First place for Label & Packaging, and a First and Third Place for Best Hot Sauce in USA and several other awards.

"We went up against some really big companies," Ivo said. "And we did it!"

About the Chef...

A Certified Executive Chef for over 20 years, Ivo attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York and the Culinary Institute in Paris. Prior to coming to Galena, Ivo was a private chef to the Chairman of the Board and Board of Directors of the United States Federal Reserve Banks. He has served United States Presidents, as well as visiting state and foreign officials.

Something most chefs cannot boast is experience as a bodyguard, but at first glance you can see why Carol Burnett and many other movie stars trusted Ivo to protect them.

 

And there's more...

 

The Galena Canning Company logo is old-fashioned goodness with gourmet flair! And most of all fresh."

Now The Galena Canning Company offers a huge variety of Salsas, Pasta Sauces, BBQ Sauces, Chili, Relishes, Pickles, Hot Sauces, Mustards, Jams & Jellies, Fruit Butters, Syrups, Toppings, Flavored Oils and Vinegars.

 

Also offered are: Fresh Raspberry Salsa, Black Bean & Corn Salsa, Raspberry Honey Mustard Dip and Mushroom Merlot Marinara sauce using Chris Lawlor's Galena Cellars Winery Merlot. The Galena Canning Company has gourmet pestos, Max's Favorite Strawberry Rhubarb Butter (named after Ivo's son who is always checking for quality control and each jar has Max's sign of approval). We now have over 200 wonderful products.

Galena Canning has been getting critical acclaim since 1982 and Chef Ivo's Galena Canning Company's Galena'mite Blasting Sauce has been featured on Good Morning America, NBC, ABC, Fox Thing in the Morning, CLTV, WGN,and the Chicago Tribune.

Other products have found their way to the Jay Leno Show, David Letterman, The Rosie O'Donnel Show, Oprah, Martha Stewart, The Food Network, Live with Regis, and the New York Times.

Not to mention that Chef Ivo and his family (wife, Shelly, and son, Chef Max, 13) have been guest chefs in Reno, NV.; Albuquerque, NM.; and Tampa, FL.

Canning Update...

One of the awards Chef Ivo is very proud of is from the International Packaging and Container Design: the Galena'mite Blasting Sauce won hands down, even when up against some Fortune 500 companies. According to Chef Ivo, he has received several phone calls from people wanting to know who or what company came up with the idea. He informs them that it was "the Chef from Galena"-Chef Ivo does all packaging and design in-house.

In March 2000 Chef Ivo appeared on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, which discussed his products, the award-winning Blasting Sauce, and his custom displays.

Chef Ivo even filled an order for the Blasting Sauce for the President of the United States last year. On your next visit to Galena stop by our new Retail Store at 106 S. Main, Galena, IL 61036 and try a sample of some of our 200 award-winning products!


Chef Ivo and Max

"Do life as you would my food- Enjoy it!" - Chef Ivo

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