Tomato relish is served in gastro pubs and restaurants in Ireland, but it’s a delicious discovery to many Americans. Definitely not pickle relish, and definitely not ketchup.
Peadar Casey (from Cork) and Stephen Bray (from Dublin) met in college twenty years ago and have been best friends ever since. Their first adventures together involved traveling extensively in many parts of the world.
In 2000 they visited the United States, then they were off to South Africa, Australia, and Thailand. They began their longest motorcycle trip in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and drove to Ushuaia, in Tierra del Fuego. But they were only getting started – they drove from the southern tip of South America to the northern tip of Alaska.
Along the way the two friends made a tomato relish recipe that had been handed down in Peadar’s family from his grandmother. “We put it on everything. It just so happened that various forms of barbecue are favorites in many of the places we visited, and our tomato relish was very popular with the people we met. In Argentina, our new friends made chimichurri sauce for us, and we made Judge Casey’s Irish Relish for them!”
Reaching the end of the road and the end of their money, the two friends had to go to work. Peadar returned to San Francisco, and Stephen went back to Dublin.
“We talked on the phone a lot. Peadar said that Americans didn’t have tomato relish, so he was still making it, and everyone who tried it loved it. He was thinking about producing it commercially and began all the necessary research to become a food entrepreneur.”
The name of their tomato relish is a tribute to Peadar’s great grand uncle. Judge Casey is part of family lore and a hero to the kids growing up.
Jeremiah Patrick Casey came to Port Costa, California in 1873. The town was a bustling hub of commerce connected by a railroad ferry to the trans-continental railroad and was the busiest wheat-shipping port in the country.
Casey had nothing, but by working as a shoe-shine and a farm hand, he managed to save enough money to start his own saloon, eventually owning a hotel and brewery. A well-known businessman, philanthropist, and self-taught student of law, he became a respected Judge.
“His achievements and success as an Irish immigrant inspire us,” relates Stephen, “so we named our Irish tomato relish after him. Both he and our tomato relish recipe are part of Peadar’s family history.”
“Nowadays, people want more complex flavors in their foods. Judge Casey’s Tomato Relish is unique, on the tangy end of the flavor spectrum. It’s so gratifying to demo it, because people instantly engage, they recognize the quality, and they appreciate its versatility.”
“In Ireland, if you ask for relish, you will be given tomato relish. We’re bringing a little taste of Ireland to America, with a tip of the hat to our heritage.”