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Beaverton Foods' 'Maestro of Mustard' honored

Gene Biggi named to Specialty Food Hall of Fame

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Gene Biggi, chairman at Beaverton Foods, has been inducted into the Specialty Food Associations Specialty Food Hall of Fame.Gene Biggi, chairman and “Maestro of Mustard” at Beaverton Foods, has been inducted into the Specialty Food Association’s Specialty Food Hall of Fame.

Biggi was inducted this winter, during the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, thanks to his “accomplishments, impact, contributions, and successes within the specialty food industry,” according to a press release.

Biggi’s mother, Rose, famously started Beaverton Foods in 1929 on a small farm near the street that bears her name in what today is the middle of Beaverton. The business not only survived but remains in the Biggi family and has become one of the country’s top condiment makers.

Gene joined the business full-time in 1950.

“During the 1950s, 60s and 70s, I developed horseradish, mustards and sauces that no other companies in the U.S. or overseas were manufacturing,” he explained. “In the 1980s, we were the first to produce horseradish and specialty mustards and sauces in squeeze jars. We have been awarded more gold medals than any other specialty food company. I am honored by the Hall of Fame induction and to be recognized for growing a successful, fourth-generation family business that my mother Rose started in the Great Depression.”

According to the release, Beaverton Foods’ Beaver Brand and Inglehoffer are the leading shelf-stable horseradish and mustards in the U.S., and the company is the largest Safe Quality Food certified processor of authentic wasabi products in North America. The company also offers a wide variety of gourmet sauces, garlic, spices and other specialty condiments packaged under these labels: Beaver, Inglehoffer, Napa Valley, Tulelake, Pacific Farms and Charlie’s Salsa.

The company also develops, produces and co-packs a broad range of products for companies in the U.S. and abroad.

Beaverton Foods Chief Executive Officer Domonic Biggi refers to his father as the “Maestro of Mustard” and “Master Innovator,” according to the release.

Gene Biggi first developed his palate for creating unique specialty condiments from his mother Rose’s kitchen as a kid. He was the first in the nation to develop and bottle Chinese hot and honey mustards and remains active in new product development.

Fourth-generation family member Jeff Biggi said his grandfather “is self-made ... he created the category niches; there was no jalapeno, fruit or whole-grain categories when he started developing mustards in the 1950s.”

“Gene Biggi never ceases to amaze me,” said Barry Levenson, curator of the National Mustard Museum. “He still comes up with new mustard flavors that seem to anticipate the hottest trends in taste. Gene is not only imaginative; he is also fearless. Not every flavor will take off, but he is willing to commit to adventurous flavors.”

Today the company’s headquarters are in neighboring Hillsboro, where it employs 70 people.