Less than two years in business, Pappy's Gourmet, located at 325 W. Front St., Washington, was been awarded a national Scovie Award for its hot zucchini relish.

The company also won a silver medal in the condiments-religh category.

Pappy's Gourmet offers relishes, pepper jellies and salsa to the specialty foods market.

"It is very exciting for us," said Carrie Freese, who operates the business with her parents Joe and Cheryl Rutz.

This was the first competition the business entered. A total 161 companies entered 792 products into the competition.

The Scovie Awards is an annual competition created by Dave DeWitt that recognizes the top fiery foods products in the world.

The awards were named after the Scoville scale, a measurement of the spicy heat of a chili pepper. It is one of the most competitive blind tasted food competitions.

The Scovie Awards take place annually in the month of October. Entries came from 38 states and four countries including Australia, Sweden, Canada and the United States.

"To be one of the winners is a huge deal for us," Freese said. "We've known for a long time that (our products are) good, but it's nice to have someone validate that it's a quality product and that other people like it."

Currently, Pappy's Gourmet can be purchased at Josie's Old and New, Urban Accents, Main Street Gourmet, IB Nuts and Fruit Too and Hillermann's Nursery & Florist.

The Front Street location is where the commercial kitchen is located. No products are sold there.

There are many other retail locations across the state, as well as in Illinois, Iowa and Kansas, where the products can be found.

Freese said that by entering the contest, she was hoping to get more national recognition to help expand the business.

Aunt Kiki's

In addition to Pappy's Gourmet, Freese and her father recently began a new line called Aunt Kiki's, which will be geared toward the grocery market.

The line includes more mainstream items, including pepper jellies, preserves, tomato salsa and relishes.

"We wanted to keep Pappy's Gourmet a specialty line, with more unique items," Freese said.

Like Pappy's Gourmet, though, the name "Kiki" derives from a family name. Freese's 2-year-old niece calls her "Kiki" since she can't pronounce her name.

Pappy is a name that Freese's mother is called by her grandchildren.

The company is a member of AgriMissouri, which supports products that are grown, raised or processed within the state of Missouri. Freese said the family uses a lot of local farmers produce.

Locally, Aunt Kiki's can be found in the Washington Schnucks, as well as Krakow Store. The items also can be found at all Dierberg's locations in St. Louis.

For other vendors or more information, people may visit www.pappysgourmet.com.