Professor Walter G. Becker's Barbecue Sauce, cooked up 40 years ago by the beloved veteran teacher at what is now Farmingdale State College and consumed for decades only at alumni gatherings, has gone commercial.
Getting food products on supermarket shelves is never easy, but the BBQ sauce invented by Becker, who taught at the college's Poultry Science Department -- long since discontinued -- can now be purchased at Zorn's Poultry Farms store on Hempstead Turnpike in Bethpage.
"We're hoping this is the tip of the iceberg," said Eileen Hasson, director of the college's alumni association. "We're so excited about this."
Becker's secret recipe was served at many alumni functions over the years. Then, some of the alums, including Joe Egan, president of Farmingdale-based Family Foods, got the idea to try to sell it retail. Becker, who lived in Plainview, retired in 1991 after a 40-year teaching career at Farmingdale. He died in 2004 at age 75. Although the recipe was secret, Becker told his wife, Ann, what the ingredients were, Becker's son, Walter Jr., had said.
"We're hoping we can expand from here," Egan said.
Merrill Zorn, a Zorn's owner, said bottles of Becker's sauce went on shelves last week. "We sold 12 bottles already and it hasn't even been advertised yet," Zorn said. It sells for $3.59 for an 11-ounce bottle.
The sauce, gluten and soy-free, has also been certified as kosher, Hasson said. She said another food retailer, Lobster Roll Northside in Riverhead, has agreed to sell the product.
Profits from sale of the sauce go to benefit the Farmingdale alumni association, Hasson said. The sauce has already netted $10,000, through Internet and other private sales. For more about the sauce, go to professorbeckersbbqsauce.com.
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