Grow Local: Poblano Farm Salsa
Friday, July 02, 2010
Steve Siravo has been making salsa for years and, fortunately for the rest of us, he’s now bottling it under the Poblano Farm brand. Several years ago Siravo ran Surfin Tacos, a Mexican restaurant in Wakefield, where they used very fresh ingredients. As is often the case with fresh, farm-raised tomatoes, they often don’t grow perfectly round and beautiful, so Siravo would grind the “unappealing” looking tomatoes into salsa. People loved it and around the beginning of 2009 Siravo exited the restaurant business to focus on salsa full-time.
Salsa from Rhode Island?
It was a gamble: a jarred salsa made almost completely from local farm-fresh RI ingredients? It had to be good enough to compete with a ton of other salsas on the shelf, many of which would be at a lower price point since they’re mass-manufactured. The pressure was to be that much better. It turned out that his smallness made him better: as Poblano Farm is a handmade, small-batch salsa, the pasteurization time required was much less than mass-produced product, and the flavor was much fresher.
From farmers markets to Whole Foods
Siravo and his wife Kate began selling the salsas at farmers markets and local RI supermarket chain Dave’s Marketplace. Whole Foods took on Poblano recently, and Siravo says he's very impressed with how helpful the major retailer has been in product placement. Now, the little salsa from RI is on shelves in Boston, Connecticut, and New York City.
Last year Siravo produced more than 350 cases of the three flavors of salsa: Chipotle, Roasted and Mild. This year he’s forecasted to produce and sell more than 1,000 cases. That’s not including Poblano Farm’s newest product - a pasta sauce. Siravo still plans on making all those jars by hand and still gets out to several farmers markets where jars of all three salsas and the pasta sauce are out for people to sample. And for us here, we can still amble through a market and taste the fresh tomatoes and peppers of South County.
Baked Eggs in Salsa
1 T olive oil
½ cup salsa
4 large eggs
freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 T fresh tarragon, chopped
1 T fresh chives, chopped
Preheat your oven to 400F. Lightly oil a medium cast iron (preferred) or oven-safe non-stick pan. Add salsa to cover bottom of pan and make four, evenly spaced holes to break the eggs into. Break each egg into the pan and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bake until the whites are cooked but the yolks are still runny, about 15 minutes. Add the cheese and herbs and bake until cheese is melted, about another minute.
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