A Passion for Peppers

Business profits may help find a cure for MS

A Passion for Peppers

A Passion for Peppers

Soon after Kristen Cummins met her husband, Steve, she knew they had been brought together for a reason—to start a pickled pepper business. On one of the couple's early dates, Steve asked her to help can pickled peppers using a recipe that had been handed down from his grandmother and tweaked to add his own twist.

"It was right then and there that I got a clear view on how great the peppers were," Kristen recalls from the family's farm near Rootstown, Ohio. "Our peppers are different because they're cold-packed, which makes them extra flavorful and crunchy.

"Nobody else makes a pepper like this, I thought. And if God hadn't brought us together, I don't think Steve would have done anything with the recipe. So I was sure He had brought us together to start this business," Kristen says.

She was convinced the public would buy them, so the couple went into business in 2004, producing both a hot and mild variety.

"Our teenagers, Craig, Dana and Clark, are a huge help with planting, picking and deliveries," says Kristen. "We rent a commercial kitchen in town, and aunts, uncles, cousins, parents and friends form an assembly line, with each member assigned a job to do."

About 1-1/2 years after launching Stevereno's Peppers, Kristen was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and realized the much bigger purpose behind God's plan—to help find a cure for MS.

"We've supported the National MS Society for years," she explains. In 1987 Kristen's father was diagnosed with MS, a chronic neurological disease that affects the central nervous system; her younger sister was diagnosed in 1996.

"We always participated in the MS fund-raising walks, and we chose to live across the street from my parents so we would always be there to help Dad," Kristen says. "When we started the business, one of our goals was to donate a portion of the profits to the National MS Society." Kristen is more passionate about that goal than ever.

"Our products have been successful, thanks to the Lord's support. And it's part of His plan that we use them to help others," she says. "As we say in our family—if you want to spice up life ... just add peppers!"

Kristen crafted the recipe for Pepper Slaw Sandwich Spread, which may just be the greatest thing for sandwiches since sliced bread!