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Fresh Milwaukee Salsa from That Salsa Lady

Dec. 2, 2014
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Photo from That Salsa Lady
Chips and salsa, once served primarily in Mexican restaurants, have grown in popularity within the last couple of decades to become a favorite snack enjoyed by all. For those seeking an alternative to the saucy processed commercial brands on grocery store shelves, That Salsa Lady has some fresh options.

Angela Moragne and her daughter, Stevey Pitts, both used to work for ACORN, the social justice nonprofit. First Pitts, then later Moragne, lost their jobs when the organization disbanded in 2010. Needing income, they decided to market Pitts’ pico de gallo-style salsa, which she often made for her brother when he visited. They started selling the fresh salsa at the Riverwest Gardeners Market in 2011.

Today, That Salsa Lady has a commercial kitchen where they prepare more than a dozen fresh salsas by hand, as well as guacamole, queso dip and homemade chips cut, fried and seasoned from handmade tortillas. Salsa offerings change with the seasons and availability of ingredients. No artificial preservatives are used.

A popular fall offering was Pitts’ colorful Autumn Blend, which represented the transition of the leaves through green tomatoes and orange peppers. “It’s a different texture and taste, and the green tomatoes have a heartier crunch,” said Moragne.

 Other varieties include roasted garlic salsa, sweet pepper salsa, fruit salsas and “death wish,” a blend of hot peppers that Moragne and Pitts will customize onsite at the farmers market. Customers can sample the pepper blend and have it adjusted according to taste.

That Salsa Lady uses locally grown ingredients whenever possible. Their tomatoes and peppers are supplied through partnerships with Alice’s Garden and UW-Extension’s Milwaukee Urban Discovery Farm growers. Moragne has teamed up with Growing Power to acquire winter tomatoes. She also plans to grow heirloom tomatoes in her sunny, spacious yard on Milwaukee’s North Side.

Good food comes from education, and Moragne and Pitts value conversation about food sources and sustainability. They teach customers to use their products not just for snacking, but also in recipes. “Healthy food is the greatest source for any healthy environment,” says Moragne.

That Salsa Lady will be at the Riverwest Winter Gardeners Market held at Riverwest Public House Cooperative. They’ll also have a stand at the MPTV Winter Market, which will run once a month through February at the MPTV Auction Studio in Brookfield. Just this month, That Salsa Lady products became available at Fat Head Jerky (5513 W. North Ave.), and the company also takes custom orders.

Prices average $1 per ounce, with containers ranging from 4 to 16 ounces. Costs may vary due to seasonal availability. They offer EBT discounts at the Riverwest market stand, and their “Flava Forward” program allows those who don’t have the means to pay full price to purchase salsa at a discounted price thanks to donations from other patrons.

Moragne said her whole family helps with the business. They’re fully staffed again, now that 12-year-old Dennis Taylor, Moragne’s grandson and director of sales, has recovered from injuries he sustained in August from a hit-and-run accident while riding his bicycle. Taylor said he looking forward to helping again at the market stands.

Contact That Salsa Lady at 414-502-7071 or thatsalsalady.com.

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