Blaine Gary

Blaine Gary with Parish Foods 

Blaine Gary is the owner of Parish Foods LLC, which makes Dat Dip crawfish dipping sauce and other products. The company is based out of a 17,000-square-foot facility in Rayne. 

I started Dat Cajun Boy's Co. in 2010 with the idea to produce the first crawfish dipping sauce in a squeeze bottle. We developed three flavors — Cajun Boy, Garlic and Lemon. I started in a 10-by-16 building that I purchased, hauled next to my parents house and had it state and federally inspected for food manufacturing. We made about 40 gallons a day filling each bottle with a half-gallon lemonade pitcher I borrowed from my mom's kitchen. That same day or the next I took whatever we produced, put it in the back of my truck and did not go home until I sold every case. I went to local supermarkets and seafood businesses to pitch my new product. It was a category/product that no one had ever purchased before, but there were hardly any stores that I went to that did not take our product in to sell on their shelves.

I saw a need for it and wondered why no one else had ever tried to market it. The idea came to me when we had a group of people over for boiled crawfish. Everyone was outside socializing around the boiling pot, and when it was time to eat everyone would be waiting around the mayo and ketchup to make their dip. That's when I thought if the crawfish dip was in a squeeze bottle on the table, we would be pinching tails by now.

I have always had a love of cooking and experimenting with food but do not have a history of being in the food business. Once we were accepted into Walmart, we outgrew that first building pretty quick. We then moved into a 2,400-square-foot building in Lafayette where we worked out of for about six years. Since the crawfish dip business is seasonal, we focused our attention to co-packing various products for food companies in Louisiana. We currently manufacture numerous crawfish dipping sauces for various retail customers and restaurants, barbecue sauces, hot sauces, salad dressings, cane syrup, jalapeno mayo, pepper jellies, chili starters, sports drinks, flavored waters, snow cones in a pouch, bloody Mary's and also dry seasonings, seafood boils, batters and more. As a growing company, we try to be as diverse as possible. We are one of a few co-packers in the state that can hot and cold fill plastic and glass containers in 2-ounce sealed cups, bottles, gallons as well as five-gallon pails for institutional customers.

I love meeting new customers to learn about their product, how it got started, their struggles and what their dream and vision is for their product. I love seeing the excitement in them to get started because I've been there. I've launched new products, distributed them and handed out countless samples at the back of grocery stores and food venues. Another exciting thing about being in the Louisiana food business is that we get to showcase the talent that we have here in Acadiana and all over Louisiana with so many unique products. The people we deal with typically aren't large companies trying to make the cheapest product they can. They are trying to make the best product they can so we take pride in that and treat their product like its as important to us as it is to them.

2019 is looking great for Parish Foods. We are closing on our new facility in Rayne this month, and we are in the process of purchasing bigger kettles, mixing tanks and more up to date automated filling equipment to meet the needs of our growing customers and to attract and hold the business and attention of some large food companies that are awaiting our expansion.

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