To Market Pantry: Port City Pretzels
BY LISA ZWIRN / PHOTOS MICHAEL PIAZZA
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Just when you thought nothing new could come from the world of pretzels, there’s a fresh twist. Port City Pretzels, founded by Portsmouth resident Suzanne Foley, are short, twisted sticks seasoned with a finger-lickin’ Tasty Ranch Dill spice mix. The seasoning is baked on so it clings to the pretzels. Two additional flavors—Cinnamon Sugar and Feisty Hot—recently joined the lineup.
The idea for the pretzels goes way back, says Foley, who married into a prominent Portsmouth family that liked to snack on spice-tossed pretzel pieces. Her husband’s grandmother, Mary Carey Dondero, was the first woman mayor in New Hampshire. Dondero’s daughter, Eileen Foley, followed in her footsteps, serving eight terms as mayor of the port city on the Piscataqua River. (Eileen Foley died last year at the age of 97.) When Suzanne Foley lost her job in 2015, she decided to start producing the crisp, flavorful snack. After months of research and tweaking the recipe, she launched Port City Pretzels in November of that year.
“I was scared to death, hoping people would like my pretzels,” she says. Within weeks of driving them around to area stores and festivals, she had her answer. The bags are now in about 100 New England shops. In a few sentences on the backs of the packages, Foley pays tribute to the two women mayors “who really cared about people and fought for women’s rights.”