The shelves at your local H-E-B are getting a little spicier. The 75-year-old Tex-Mex staple of San Antonio dining will share its versatile salsa verde with consumers after winning third place in H-E-B's Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best contests.
Now in its fourth year, the competition awards $25,000 to the grand prize winner, $20,000 for first place, $15,000 for second and $10,000 to Texan producers highlighting the best the state has to offer. Cariño Cortez, part of the task force involved in presenting the salsa verde couldn't make the final round in Austin this Friday, but she shared how the salsa verde came together and what more we can expect from the group.
What was the process like?
Cariño Cortez: The process for our company started back in December. Our Third Generation Family members working in the business (3G) had a meeting, and we knew we wanted to work on retail food to be sold in grocery stores as a next project. We had always noticed the H-E-B Quest for Texas Best contest and thought that would be a wonderful avenue to venture in to this new project with. When you think about the timeline, it's no wonder it felt so quick. We are in the restaurant business and were in the middle of Fiesta and summer and learning about Co-packers, distribution, etc. We learned a lot along the way. Just when our summer rush was dying down slightly, we got the call from H-E-B that we had made it to the finals and would be pitching in Austin. We had about a month to get everything together, slides, samples, packaging, and our pitch. Each of our 3G members pulled together and took a part of the presentation and worked on it, everything from the script to the stage set up and a detailed run of show on getting everything to Austin to even cueing the mariachis. We couldn't have asked for anything to have gone better.
When did you decide on the tomatillo recipe?
CC: We asked our customers what they wanted to see us make as an initial product, our enchilada sauces were high in demand, we chose the tomatillo sauce because it can be used not only to top enchiladas verdes, but can also be used to make a variety of other dishes, i.e. green chile pork stew, chilaquiles verdes, enchilada fillings and the list goes on.
Will there be more salsas/products available in the future?
CC: Yes! We are focused on finding the right mix of products that will work in the Mi Tierra food line, everything has been tossed on the table from fajita marinades, Mi Tierra chorizo or bacon, and even Margarita mixes. We constantly get requests from customers wanting to take a little bit of Mi Tierra home with them and we can't wait to be able to provide them with just that.