Local Vendor Spotlight: Margarita’s Tortilla Factory
Interview with Sonia Grizzle by Chris Moore, Chill & Bulk Coordinator
1. How long have you been in business and why tortillas and tamales?
We have been making organic flour tortillas and non-GMO corn tortillas & tamales since January 1997.Why tortillas & tamales? I grew up eating home cooked meals accompanied by hand made flour or corn tortillas. My mother, Micaela, taught me even at the young age of 7, to make flour & corn tortillas. When I married, I continued in that tradition. After my second child was born, I looked for an easier way and bought the first commercial flour tortillas. I don’t remember the brand, because at the store, all tortillas look the same when you read the ingredients. And they all taste and smell the same. From there on, my thought was, “I can’t believe people actually eat these tortillas! because the tortillas tasted like cardboard and smelled terrible!” So I set out to make the first true “homemade” tortilla. I went to local natural foods stores and presented my tortillas.
2. As a small business how hard was it for you to source organic and non-GMO ingredients?
Sourcing organic and verified non-GMO ingredients from Texas has been difficult. Our organic materials come from Colorado and verified non-GMO corn comes from California. There is one Texas organic corn producer and they sell their corn to an international corn processor, limiting their local sourcing.
3. We know that you run a family business but what does that mean on the labor side of your business?
We are truly a family run business. My children have grown knowing every aspect of the business, from production to delivering the product, to doing demos. However, we would not be able to produce these products without the help and dedication of our employees.
4. Do you have a favorite product that you produce and or recipe?
To me, there are certain foods that can only be eaten with flour or corn tortillas. For example, red meats and soups, to me, go best with corn tortillas. My favorite food are beef fajitas. I enjoy eating them with Margarita’s stone ground corn tortillas accompanied with roasted onions, tomatoes and serrano peppers. Flour tortillas taste best with guisados, like carne guisada. On our website, www.margaritastortillafactory.com, we have recipes that my three children have enjoyed over the years. These are simple recipes yet they are so delicious. As a child, I was fascinated by how my mother and father created a fabulous meal with simple ingredients. With my family, I continue the tradition of home cooking all the meals. I enjoy staying true to my roots, my heritage. I enjoy watching the expressions of my family and friends as they eat the food I have prepared. Good food is to be shared. It brings joy and happiness to everyone present.
5. Do you have anything new in the works?
Austin is a great place to live and do business. There are thousands of tourist visiting our city and discovering our products and wishing our products were available in their local grocery store. Our company is going through a transition. We are slowly growing into the national spotlight. As our products become available statewide and even nationwide, we will strive in making the cleanest product possible, still adhering to the basic family recipe, without preservatives or additives. It brings me great joy that Margarita’s tortillas and tamales will be enjoyed by many more people.