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The culinary culture in Massachusetts is incredible, so we’re taking a moment to highlight a few cuisine wizards putting the Commonwealth on the foodie map in this “MA Food Entrepreneurs” mini series. In this edition, we catch up with Sherie Grillon, owner of NOLA’s Fresh Foods.
Tell us a little about yourself and what inspired you to start NOLA’s.
I grew up in New Orleans where food is a way of life. It’s a place where people start talking about what they’re having for dinner before they finish lunch.
As a student at the University of Texas, I worked in restaurants where fell in love with the flavor of Tex-Mex. I began experimenting with making my own salsa, and it was at this time I developed my Salsa Fresca.
When I moved to New England, I was shocked by the jarred tomato paste that was passed off as salsa – so I started making my own and bringing it to parties. Before long, friends began requesting it and encouraged me to sell it at farmer’s markets. Once people tried it at the market, they loved it. I had my regulars and started selling out every week. The rest, as they say, is history. Today we’re carried in most Whole Foods throughout New England and specialty grocery stores.
What makes NOLA’s?
NOLA’s Salsa is fresh, flavorful and pureed to perfection. We blend seven raw ingredients with no added sugars or oils. The name is my way paying homage to my hometown of New Orleans, the city that developed my love and respect of food.
Your favorite farmer’s market and why?
I love the South End Open Market. It’s a great mix of local food vendors, artisans and food trucks. I love the energy there. It’s a great place to connect with other food entrepreneurs and experience some of the amazing flavors coming out of New England.
What about your favorite local restaurants?
Hmm…that’s a tough one. There are so many great restaurants in this area. I always love going to the Milky Way in Jamaica Plain. For Mexican, I love Casa Romero in the Back Bay – authentic Mexican with traditional Mexican décor.
What you love about the MA food economy?
Massachusetts is a great place to grow a new business. NOLA’s is part of CommonWealth Kitchen, an incubator that helps food startups with permits, packaging, licensing, and shared commercial kitchen space. I also love the collaborative nature of the community. Everyone looks out for each other.
Where people can find NOLA’s?
Whole Foods, American Provisions in South Boston, Pemberton Farms in Cambridge and Volante Farms in Needham.
Photo credit: Images courtesy of NOLA’s Fresh Foods