WINGETT RUN-Salsa aficionados in the Mid-Ohio Valley may not have heard of Cliffie's salsas, but there are plenty of salsa-loving celebrities who have.
Cliff Schultheis, co-owner of Cliffie's in Wingett Run, has a knack for getting his salsa in the hands of celebs who visit in and around Ohio and West Virginia.
Actor/musician Gary Sinise, musician Ricky Skaggs, musician/actor Tim McGraw and newsman Lester Holt have all been gifted with jars of Cliffie's salsa.
SHARON BOPP The Marietta Times
Jeff Schultheis of Cliffie’s prepares a snack Monday featuring locally produced Cliffie’s salsa.
Schultheis caught up with Skaggs when he was performing at the Down From the Mountain tour based on the movie "O Brother Where Art Thou?" in Chester, W.Va.
Knowing that Alison Krauss and others were also singing with Skaggs, Schultheis gifted Skaggs with a whopping 96 jars of salsa.
"I haven't traveled more than 100 miles to meet these people," Schultheis said. "Most of these are people you think you would never be able to get close to."
What: Cliffie's salsas, mustards, relishes.
Where to purchase locally: Kroger, 40 Acme St., Marietta.
Where to purchase online: Broad Run Cheese House, broadruncheese.com.
Online cost: $3.99 8-oz. jar of pineapple salsa, $5.25 8-oz. jar of peach salsa (plus shipping fees).
Celebrities often charge tens of thousands of dollars to have their photos taken "endorsing" a product, said Schultheis.
"Have any of these celebrities made me any money?" Schultheis laughed. "No!"
Schultheis and his wife Linda founded Cliffie's more than 12 years ago, after family members clamored for more-and more-of the couple's tasty tomato concoctions.
"My relations drove me nuts for years wanting my salsa," Schultheis remembered.
"I passed out the recipe and said 'Make your own,'" added Schultheis. "Then they didn't give my jars back."
The name Cliffie's comes from Cliff's family nickname.
"An uncle called me Cliffie," said Schultheis. "He called me that to make me mad, but I kind of liked it and it stuck."
The taste of original Cliffie's salsa is a combination of Schultheis' recipe and those of two of his aunts.
"Every item in our salsa is hand cut, hand cleaned and hand inspected," said Schultheis.
Bill Kelsey, 38, of Marietta, said he likes the made-by-hand flavor of Cliffie's salsa and has been enjoying it for eight years.
"It has a really good taste. It tastes more like a homemade, fresh-grown product...than mass-produced salsa," Kelsey said.
Mike Weiner, 45, of Fleming tried his first Cliffie's salsa before he knew it was locally produced.
"If I can, I buy local," said Weiner. "It's just a very good salsa, and it tastes the same no matter what jar you open."
Cliffie's top-selling salsas are pineapple, peach and peach/pineapple.
"In different areas, people like different things," Schultheis said.
Cliffie's also produces hot mustard, paw-paw salsa, dandelion salsa and relish.
"I'm always trying to come up with new flavors," he said.
Cliffie's latest salsa flavor is called "hot pepper extreme" because it's made with more hot peppers than tomatoes.
Currently the Schultheis produce Cliffie's products in limited edition, canning and selling about 200 cases per year, or 2,400 jars. Their son, Jeff Schultheis, also helps with the family business.
Cliffie's products can be purchased at Kroger, 40 Acme St., Marietta and online at Broad Run Cheese House, broadruncheese.com.