TOPEKA — Lydia Hein first sold her homemade mustard in 1990 at an arts and crafts fair in Hillsboro. The following year, the old family recipe launched a new family business — Grannie’s Homemade Mustard.
Now the company produces nine varieties of mustard that are sold in more than 50 Kansas stores, as well as online.
Eugene Hein, Lydia’s son, pointed Tuesday to a circular blue logo bearing a wheat spike above the words “From the Land of Kansas” on the back of a bear-shaped bottle of honey mustard.
“That logo makes a difference,” he said. “It shows it’s local, and people like to buy local.”
Hein and several other business owners who participate in the state’s agriculture trademark program displayed their wares and offered samples Tuesday in the Statehouse rotunda. The event kicked off the program’s 40th anniversary, which will continue with special events about once a month, said Janelle Dobbins, the program’s marketing manager.
The Kansas Department of Agriculture trademarked the first From the Land of Kansas logo in 1978, but the program has seen several changes since then. It was operated by the Department of Commerce from 1996 until 2011, when it returned to the agriculture department. The program introduced its current logo for Kansas-grown, -produced or -manufactured products in 2015.
The logo provides a consistent way for consumers to identify Kansas agriculture-based products, according to the program.
Nan Lisher, owner of Frankfort-based Elsie Grace’s Dry Food Mixes, said the program’s networking opportunities and other resources have been valuable to her 25-year-old business. She sells her pie, soup and dip mixes well beyond her town of 800 people.
Tom Herrera markets the sauces from his parents’ La Siesta restaurant in Topeka’s Oakland neighborhood, which closed in 2014, with the From the Land of Kansas logo on its label. His spicy tomato seasoning sauce, which is added to sharp cheddar cheese to replicate the restaurant’s staple chile con queso, is bottled and sold at stores in Topeka and the surrounding area. Herrera also sells taco sauce, salsa verde, chile ancho and corn husks for tamales.
Businesses that participate in the trademark program are featured in an interactive map on the From the Land of Kansas website.
Dobbins said the trademark program offers resources for business owners, including marketing assistance, such as helping them obtain UPC codes enabling them to sell their products in stores.
Companies can join the program in one of five fee-based categories. For more information, call (785) 564-6759 or email email@example.com.