By Kathleen Swift • Photos by Savanah Mandeville
Many families have a traditional recipe or two that shows up at family gatherings and becomes a bond from one generation to the next. For sisters Karrington and Kortlin Garvin, the special recipe from their grandmother led them into the world of entrepreneurship.
“Our grandmother always made this savory sauce and brought it to family events, and, of course, we were hooked on it,” said Karrington. “Twenty years ago, she sold it to a restaurant in Anderson, Missouri, and at local craft shows.”
Karrington graduated from Missouri State University in 2017 with a degree in business management, and Kortlin graduated from Pittsburg State University with a degree in business management in 2019. They also come from a family of entrepreneurs who have encouraged them and motivated them to make a go with the family recipe for Savory Sauce.
“We make our sauce in small batches of about 10 gallons once a week in our commercial kitchen in Alba,” said Karrington. “It takes us about 4 hours to make, bottle and label each batch.”
The sauce itself is a light, sweet, savory flavor. “The sauce is a sweet vinaigrette,” said Kortlin. “We use fresh vegetables in it to give it the savory flavor along with onion, celery and garlic. It doesn’t have any water in it like store brands do and is very light.”
The sisters explain that Savory Sauce cannot only be used as a salad dressing, but it makes a terrific marinade for chicken.
“Marinate the chicken in Savory Sauce for 15 minutes and then grill or bake the chicken,” said Kortlin. “It also makes a great dressing for pasta salad and adds a lot of flavor. We also use it on roasted potatoes, and our customers tell us that it is great on fish and salmon. We love the sauce on the spring mix lettuce from Oakwood Farms, which you can find at both the Webb City Farmers Market and at the Empire Market in Joplin.”
When Karrington and Kortlin decided to market Savory Sauce, they started selling at the Webb City Farmers Market and at the Empire Market in Joplin. Their goal was to serve a local product to a local market. They saw their opportunities grow when the sisters took a sample of their sauce into Club 1201, and the owner began ordering it to use in the restaurant.
“Raggedy’s Café in Grove, Oklahoma, also serves Savory Sauce at the café, and they sell it by the bottle, too. They found us at the Empire Market in Joplin and tasted it, loved it and now they buy it by the gallon for their restaurant,” said Karrington.
Buoyed by their initial success, the sisters marketed Savory Sauce to local meat shops and to local boutiques. You can find Savory Sauce locally at K&D Cattle Company in Joplin, which sells locally grass-fed beef, pork and chicken; Mary’s Market in Webb City, a family-owned boutique that specializes in gifts from local vendors; Black Cat Barnyard in Joplin, a family farm that focuses on raising pastured animals that lead happy lives; Annie’s in Carthage, which offers regional food; and Pearls & Curls, a boutique in Girard, Kansas.
Both Karrington and Kortlin work full-time jobs in addition to selling Savory Sauce, but they are on their way to successful business careers.
“We’ve only been in business for a year and a half, and we have grown so much. We’ve learned how to bottle our sauce, do the advertising and taxes. We never thought we would have this much success so early. We love being a local producer, and we hope to expand our market into the Springfield and Branson areas. We love supporting all of our local communities, farmers markets and businesses.”
Roasted Pecan Chicken Salad
from Club 1201
Spinach, seasonal berries, red onion, roasted pecans and smoked chicken breast with Savory Sauce dressing
2 lbs. rotini pasta
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Savory Sauce (add more if preferred)
Cook pasta accordingly to package directions; drain and place in medium bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix lightly. Refrigerate until chilled.