Red wine, red meat and good friends are the foundation of hot little business for Oak Bay’s Graham and Pam Bavington.
Frustrated by the lack of decent horseradish, one night Graham determined he’d make his own for a dinner party. That night – fuelled by good food, friends and conversation – he created Hee-Haw Horserad!sh.
“I’m highly impressionable,” he says with a laugh. “We came up with the name and logo pretty quickly and then the recipe took some time.”
That was February 2014 and since then they’ve contracted a food scientist to ensure food safety and leased a commercial kitchen in Central Saanich.
There they hand-peel horseradish – Graham notes that’s the first ingredient as opposed to the parsnips that populate many commercial brands – and grind with tears streaming down their faces.
But they’re doing it together.
“Peeling it is the hardest thing, it’s labour intensive but it makes the difference. It’s 100,000 times worse than when you cut an onion,” Pam says. “We have our family involved. A lot of love goes into each [jar].”
They’ve developed the Damn Hot and Double Damn Hot and are always seeking new recipes, with a milder version in the works for more sensitive tastebuds. Then there’s the distinct possibility of a seafood variety.
“Because this is all new to us, Pam and I have said we’ll see where it goes. The one consistent thing is doors keep flying open. The world is beating a path to our door,” Graham said. “We have quite a number of ideas for horseradish.”
The two original recipes are already a household staple, at least in Oak Bay. Available at both the Oak Bay and Sidney street markets, they’re also on shelves at the Village Butcher, Slaters Meats and at the Fort and Foul Bay Save on Foods. But the happiest moments were post-Oak Bay Tea Party.
Hee-Haw Horserad!sh featured heavily at the famed baron of beef hut during the annual party, and the feedback at the following night market made the two life-long Oak Bay residents feel like stars.
To find out more about Hee-Haw Horserad!sh visit heehawhorseradish.com.
The Bavingtons plan to have booths at the remaining Sidney and Oak Bay markets this season.