At the age of 84, Dorothy Holterman of Jefferson City has her first
business cards, not to mention her first Web site.
"W-w-w, dot -- now what is it?" she asked her grandson.
With the help of Steve Picker, her grandson, Mrs. Holterman is now
selling her homemade salad dressing that's been popular with family and
friends for more than 40 years.
Several local grocery and specialty stores began stocking the
dressing this week.
It's called Grandma's Cool & Zesty Dressing, which pretty well
describes the dressing maker herself.
"Honey, I'm 84, but I'd say I've got another 20 years," she
said, and no one doubts it.
Recently, she's been down in the back, probably because she packed in
$58 worth of groceries one day after a 1 1/2-hour workout at the gym and
a night of jitterbugging at her class reunion.
This great-grandmother is determined to get back into the swing of
things, just in time to see the debut of her dressing on store shelves.
The story actually begins in 1933 when the Freeburg girl married Fred
Holterman. She was just 18 and went to live on his farm west of
Freeburg, where she had to learn to cook everything from scratch -- from
soup to cornbread.
"I didn't know anything," she said. Her new husband was
particularly fond of his mother-in-law's salad and slaw dressing, but
there was no recipe.
Mrs. Holterman said her mother would mix it just before meal time,
"using a pinch of this and a dab of that."
Mrs. Holterman wanted to be able to mix up a bottle at a time to use
as needed, so she spent years experimenting with different measurements
of oil, vinegar, sugar and other spices.
Finally, in 1957, she hit upon the correct amounts and has been
making quantities of it ever since. Friends frequently ask her to make
some for them.
In about 1965, Mrs. Holterman briefly looked into trying to market
"Nobody knew what to do and how to get started," she said.
"It would take thousands of dollars, and we just didn't have
Then the final ingredient came into the mix -- her ambitious
Last August, Mrs. Holterman's 84th birthday was being celebrated at
the Jefferson City home of her daughter and son-in-law, Rita and Bud
Picker, along with her grandchildren Steve Picker and Susan York and her
great-grandchildren. Mrs. Holterman's husband had died the previous
When Bud Picker mentioned that the dressing really should be
marketed, his son, Steve, resolved then to do it.
"I'm pretty motivated. I like to jump right in and get things
done," he said.
But, he didn't realize just how much was involved in getting a
product from grandma's kitchen to store shelves.
There was FDA approval, business incorporation, a bottler, a
nutritional label, a UPC code, product liability insurance, agreements
from corporate headquarters -- all that before it even reaches the
Today, the dressing is bottled by Ozark Bottlers at the Lake of the
Ozarks, where it's made in an FDA-approved kitchen. The family worried
whether the 15-ounce recipe would translate into 35-gallon vats.
But, when Mrs. Holterman walked into the bottling company, she said,
"I smell my dressing."
Of course, she won't divulge the recipe, but she says the secret is
to shake it well before pouring it over lettuce, cabbage, vegetables, or
Picker hopes to expand the business, going into stores throughout
Missouri. As of now, the dressing is available at Schulte's IGA, Hy-Vee,
I B Nuts and Fruit, Through the Garden Gate, Apple Core Company,
Mega-Market and Moser's Discount Foods.
And, the complete Web site is www.cool-zesty.com.