“2Sisters” Diane & Charleen
One evening in early 2012, my beautiful sister was creating a Mexican feast for our family dinner. She is an awesome chef and always puts out an amazing spread no matter what she is serving. Diane is a major foodie who spent 25 plus years in the restaurant/catering business so she certainly knows what she is doing when it comes to good eats.
I had mentioned to her that it would be awesome if she would come up with a delicious and enjoyable alternative for store bought salsa. A recipe that ranged somewhere between a medium and a mild would be perfect. I love the flavor of a good salsa but the heat factor can do me in. Within weeks of this time she had come up with the prototype for what would become our very first “2Sisters Natural Foods” product.
The following year in April 2013, we participated in “Fiesta Brevard”, a major fundraiser organized by the Cocoa Beach Area Chamber of Commerce to help promote Non-Profit partners of the Chamber. This annual event which started in 2004 continues to grow every year. The highlight of the festivities is a “Salsa Contest” showcasing more than a dozen professional and non-professional Salsa chefs. We placed 2nd in the “Judges Choice” category which was not only encouraging but very exciting.
We knew that our friends and family enjoyed it but now we had confirmation that a greater population (the 1,500 plus guests in attendance) enjoyed it as well. By this time we had people from Florida to South Carolina telling us we should start a business. Slowly the idea formulated into a possible business venture. My sister’s husband Rich was even on board, winning him over was not an easy task as he didn’t care for salsa, but now he loves it!
We entered the contest again in April 2014 and won 2nd place in the “People’s Choice” category as well as “1st place in the Judges Choice” category. In addition, a very popular beachside restaurant approached us with an offer to sell our salsa at their location. They commented that “they liked our salsa product way better than what they were offering on their menu.”
In addition, the food editor from our local newspaper, who turned out to be one of the judges wanted to do a story on us and our salsa. At that time we could not legally sell our product so she said to give her a call when we were ready to go to market as she would really like to tell our story.
It was time to stop dreaming and start doing some major research. Here in Florida going into the food business is not an easy thing to do. There is not one entity that can give you all the answers on how to go about starting a food business and with our first product being an acidic product there are many rules that need to be followed that non-acidic food products are not regulated by. We have gotten information from one source only to be told by another that that information was incorrect. Not only do we need to follow Florida guidelines but then you have FDA guidelines. It has been an interesting and sometimes confusing adventure but completely worth it.
In March of 2015 we introduced our Award Winning Salsa into the local retail markets and the rest is history in the making. We love sharing a little bit of SUNSHINE with our friends and fans throughout Brevard County and the Greater Orlando area and surrounding cities.
…….. “Sister” Charleen