OCEAN CITY – Raggatha Calentine is a small woman with a big name, a bigger heart and one of the creators of what’s being called “quite possibly, the world’s most addicting cracker.”
Locally produced and in just the fourth month of business, Little Ragghi’s Crackers, an artisan flat bread cracker made of simply olive oil, parmesan cheese and a small amount of seasoning, has begun to gain widespread acclaim and is making a substantial mark in the industry in the very early stages of its existence.
Although the cracker business may not be the first thing that people think of as an uber successful business venture, or even a niche market that would garner press coverage, it is the story of Calentine, a native American Indian, that is as equally compelling and intriguing as the exceptional taste of these little gourmet crackers.
“To her credit, this is a woman who gives all her free time to children and to what she believes in and has put her back into this, put her name on the line to see this succeed,” said Guy Bayshore, co-owner of Little Ragghi’s Crackers.
Bayshore said that Calentine, who is called “Little Ragghi” by friends for her small stature, was a bit hesitant about having her name attached to the product, as in native American culture, a person’s name holds the utmost importance.
“She’s very humble and asked not to be interviewed for this piece, and was concerned that her name would be attached to something that wasn’t genuine at the beginning of this,” said Bayshore.
Part of the proceeds from Little Ragghi’s Crackers, which come in a quaint bag for $6.99 each and includes the story outlining the work of Calentine, are given to the Native American Family Camp charity, which Calentine hand-picked.
“I don’t want the charity to sell the product, because I want people to love the product itself,” said Bayshore, “but I want people to learn about this charity through this product and learn about this amazing woman who has always been this saint of the world who works so hard all while watching over so many people.”
At the root of it, however, is the taste of the crackers, which early response compelled Bayshore to add the tagline “quite possibly, the world’s most addicting cracker” after many customers said that it was a spot on description of the taste.
“I’ve never seen a response like this, where people are almost overjoyed by them,” said Bayshore. “We started selling them on a small scale in the General Store (behind the Atlantic Hotel in Berlin) and even before Solstice came to an end, I knew we had something special with these crackers.”
Bayshore, who was one of the managing partners who closed down Solstice and the General Store in late December, quickly moved on to the cracker business, with Calentine and has been burning the midnight oil with “Little Ragghi” at the Galaxy 66, making the gourmet crackers to order after the restaurant closes the kitchen each night.
Bayshore struck up a partnership with Galaxy 66 owner Roger Cebula and cranks out 400-500 bags of crackers each night seemingly, when the rest of the town sleeps or at least should be.
In addition, Bayshore has been actively traveling to gourmet stores, wholesalers and trade shows and food and wine festivals all over the east coast selling the crackers seemingly one bag at a time.
“Being able to get into serious stores in urban areas, and seeing the volume of bags of crackers that we are moving after we just placed them there in the past few months absolutely makes the product more real and makes it grow,” he said.
Bayshore hopes to get take “Little Ragghi’s” crackers to the prestigious Specialty Food Show, which will host almost 22,000 people and wholesalers in the industry. Bayshore said that it could give Little Ragghi’s crackers exposure to the nation and to, perhaps, the world.
“Literally, people will try these things, take five steps away from our table at these food and wine shows and turn around and say ‘wow, that’s a damn good cracker,’” said Bayshore.
Whether mentoring children through the ancient art of storytelling or creating the world’s most addicting cracker, Little Ragghi might be able to make an even bigger impact in the world with the exposure gained by the success of the crackers that bear her name.
Quite possibly, that’s a story that many would like to see told over and over again.
To learn more about Little Ragghi or her crackers, click to http://www.ragghiscrackers.com/