Katie was born in Montana as one of nine children. She moved to Hot Springs, AR in 1975 after touring the state and enjoying the natural beauty of the Ouachita and Ozark Mountains. She met her husband, Randy, in Hot Springs and later married in Dallas, Texas, where they lived with their two daughters Carlene and Allison. Katie worked as a licensed real estate agent, focused on commercial real estate sales and property management in the Dallas metropolitan area.
While Dallas remained the backdrop of their lives for 20+ years, the family traveled to Arkansas at least a dozen times a year. Most of those trips were spent exploring the Ozarks and the White River in Izard and Stone counties. In 2006, the family moved to Mount Olive, an old historic riverboat community nestled along the White River in the Arkansas Ozarks near Mountain View. Shortly after settling in, the couple started “Mount Olive Outdoors”, a private vacation cabin rental and trout fishing guide service, to promote White River tourism and world-class trout fishing. It is successfully listed with a third-party vacation cabin rental service.
During this time, they participated in the Mountain View Farmer’s Market selling fresh and on-site roasted peppers. The couple investigated ways to preserve their excess harvest of peppers at the end of each growing season beyond the local farmer’s markets. Katie has always considered the health benefits while growing and preserving foods for sustainability, including peppers. After four years of efforts to develop a unique and all-natural, single-ingredient product, the pair perfected the “cold smoke-dried” method of preservation using hickory wood. The smoke-dried peppers are then finely ground and packed into shaker bottles so the smoked pepper vitality can sit on anyone’s spice rack year-round and be added daily as a normal food seasoning. Ruthie Mountain Smoked Pepper LLC got its start in the Crumby home kitchen, utilizing a small coffee grinder and a self-designed pepper smokehouse.
In 2014, Ruthie Mountain was selected as one of ten Value-Added Producers by the University of Arkansas to fully develop their enterprise in a grant titled, “Fostering Enterprise Diversification to Expand Local Community Food Systems.” Today, they process and bottle the pure ground hickory-smoked pepper at the University of Arkansas Food Innovation Center in Fayetteville and have achieved FDA certification.
Katie and Randy share a true love, appreciation, and respect for all things in the Natural State. The pepper company’s name was inspired by the beautiful landscape of Ruthie Mountain, a geographical landmark next to the State of Arkansas Natural Heritage Area of Devil’s Knob and Backbone, located in the Ozarks at Mount Olive. Of course, the Mount Olive Outdoors vacation cabin rental business was named after the old river town and a cabin is named Ruthie Mountain Log Cabin.
Katie worked outside the family business in the tourism industry first at Ozark Folk Center Music Hall as assistant to the music director and later at the Arkansas Craft School as office manager focusing specifically on expanding their student base to include surrounding states and beyond. Katie continues to explore additional tourism resources to promote the unique lodging and special landscape through the valley at Meadowcreek, Inc.