Clark Stallings has always had a love for jalapeños. Although his company, Gesus Palomino, has only been around since 2019, Stallings’ candied jalapeños have been in high demand for much longer. Stallings and his mother have a yearly tradition of picking fresh jalapeños straight from her garden in Albany, Georgia, hand slicing each individual pepper, and filling as many mason jars as possible with their sweet, spicy, and delicious candied jalapeño recipe. Year after year the jars they would give their friends and family disappeared more rapidly than the last, and the demand eventually surpassed the supply. Stallings quickly realized that he could turn these candied peppers into an actual business. Named after an old family adage used in place of curse words when the Georgia Bulldogs made them upset, Stallings received his mother’s blessing to bring their recipe to the masses, and he began the journey to create Gesus Palomino. Stallings’ first foray into selling directly to consumers was a listing of 40 jars on Facebook Marketplace, and much to his surprise, the candied jalapenos sold out in under one hour. After a few more weeks of rapid sales, Stalling’s had his proof-of-concept and began researching how to streamline the process and turn his home-kitchen operation into a fully functioning business. Stallings chose to enroll himself in the University of Georgia’s Food Preservation and Canning courses to learn how to legitimize the business and learn to safely can his peppers for sale.
After a long, hard search, he also secured a co-packer and a supplier for fresh jalapeños, both located in South Georgia within a couple of hours of Albany. Shortly after the launch of his candied jalapenos, Stallings realized that there was too much waste happening from their production, and after using the byproduct—a sweet and peppery syrup-like liquid—for personal use, he decided to legitimize that as well and sell it as a cocktail syrup and marinade that is just as delicious as the candied jalapenos. From there, Stallings was connected with the bar manager at the Four Seasons in Atlanta who developed four recipes using Stallings’ products, giving him a big stamp of approval for the brand. Currently, you can find Gesus Palomino’s Candied Jalapenos and Cocktail Syrup & Marinade in over 120 brick-and-mortar stores, restaurants, and bars nationwide, and with Stallings’ drive and determination, I am confident that Gesus Palomino will become a household name in no time. As Stallings says, “Let it begin!”