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Boetje's, a Quad-Cities favorite


A bottle of Boetje's is the start of a fine Quad-Cities culinary experience.

ROCK ISLAND -- Fred H. Boetje started making stoneground Dutch mustard 109 years ago in a garage at 300 5th St., Rock Island. That mustard now is available in 27 states.

Boetje's Mustard, still made with the original recipe of water, mustard seed, sugar, salt and distilled vinegar, is a mainstay in area restaurants as well as private homes. It also tops all mustard sales in the local retail market, outselling even the big three -- French's, Kraft and Plochman -- by 7 to 1.

Boetje's became a family company in 1926 when Fred's son, Charles, began driving a delivery truck at the age of 17. In 1953 he started Charles Boetje Salads. Fred's son Fred Jr. took control of the food company in the late 1930s and sold it in the late 1950s to his brother, Jim Boetje.

Shortly after, Jim Boetje sold the company to Dick Hall of Davenport. Since then it's changed hands twice and has been operated by the Kropp Family of Rock Island since 1983.

``Our hottest market area right now is in the southeastern states of Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina,'' general manager Will Kropp said.

Production of the mustard at the plant at 2736 12st St. is much as it was in that long-ago garage. ``We still keep an eye on every step,'' Mr. Kropp said. ``We haven't changed the recipe, but we've updated the equipment to make more mustard faster.''

Mustard is more than just a condiment for hot dogs and hamburgers, he added. ``You can use Boetje Mustard on just about anything. It not only tastes good, it's very healthy.''

Boetje's Stoneground Dutch Mustard is available at all area Eagles, Hy-Vee and Quad-Cities Jewel Stores.

-- By Lisa Mohr (January 26, 1998)

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