The perfect salsa
Published on The Sierra Vista Herald
San Pedro River Valley Salsa carries a full line of red and green salsas available in mild, medium and hot. The salsa is made by hand and no preservatives are added.
Gary Hall is a man that has perfected the art of making a great salsa. Although he never thought in a million years that he would one day be in the salsa selling business, he says he wouldn’t have it any other way. Living in St. David, Gary once worked as a laser programmer for Texas Instruments and would drive in to Tucson everyday to go to work. But when he found out that the company would be leaving the country he made the choice to stay in St. David where he and his family now called home. Gary knew he would find a new job, he just didn’t know that it would take a lot longer than he originally thought.
Married with four (spoiled) kids, 12 grand-kids and three great-grand kids, Gary gives credit to his mother-in-law for getting him started in the salsa selling business. Although Gary never had an actual plan to sell salsa, it was something that was simply meant to be. One day as he was watching his mother-in-law cook the delicious Mexican food she often cooked for them over the years, he had an idea. He would make his own salsa.
He loved eating salsa and thought he might be able to create a few salsa variations of his own. And it wasn’t hard to get his family to taste his new salsa creations, which was very helpful when it came to making any necessary changes so he could craft the perfect salsa recipe. It didn’t take too long before Gary’s family finally gave their approval for a perfectly-made salsa. And once they did they began adding the salsas to many of their meals.
Because Gary and his family were enjoying the salsa so much he started sharing the salsa with his friends when they came over. And every single time they would tell him that he should start selling his salsa because it was just that good. He finally took their advice and gave it a go, and now, 35 years later, he’s making and selling a full line of delicious salsas.Because he had some friends who owned restaurants he would sell them his salsa, and the reaction by customers was very well-received! They started asking where they could buy the salsa so they could enjoy eating it when at home. Gary tells us a story about a friend of his who writes western stories. He says whenever she sits down at her computer to start writing she and her cat have some of his Salsa Verde with chips. If she happens to forget the salsa and chips, her cat will have a fit until she goes and gets them.
Although Gary’s been selling salsa for a long time now, he officially started his salsa selling business about five years ago. Because there’s a lot involved when it comes to getting and new food business regulated and approved — he finally went through the process, which involved going through a lot of the red tape that one needs to go through in order to get their food business approved.He took his salsa to the University of Arizona for testing, where he got the approval he was looking for and ta-da! — the San Pedro River Valley Salsa company was created.
Gary says, “I know I’m giving my customers a healthy product because it’s been tested at the U of A labs.” After considering many names for his new salsa business, he settled on San Pedro River Valley Salsa (SPRVS) because he lives in the San Pedro Valley and the San Pedro River flows right through the beautiful valley, so it just seemed to make sense. Now Gary has a full line of both green and red salsas that are available in mild, medium and hot.
Besides selling salsa, Gary enjoys hunting, fishing and riding quads. But unfortunately he simply has no time to play these days because he’s so busy keeping up with the demand. He does hope to be able to get back to doing these fun things again sometime real soon. Gary likes to be the front man when it comes to selling his salsas, and that’s why you can find him as a vendor selling his line of green and red salsas at a select number of markets in the local area, including 10 stores in Cochise County and three stores in Tucson. Gary used to do 5 markets a week but after many years of driving to various markets he’s decided that 2 markets now works best for him — the Sierra Vista Community Market and the Sierra Vista Farmers Market. He also attendsone seasonal market and about six festivals every year. When asked what his favorite thing about being a market vendor was, Gary tells us, “People, people, people. I love interacting with my customers and I love providing them with a high-quality product. It’s by far more fun and rewarding than any other job I’ve ever had.”
Gary still eats his salsa every single day. Either when he’s performing taste tests, when the salsa is in production or when he eats a meal at home because his wife uses the salsas in so many dishes she makes for their family. It can be said with confidence that it would truly be difficult to find a fresher or healthier salsa than Gary’s. Mainly because he does everything by hand, so you can taste the love he puts into making the salsa (no food processors are used), and also because he doesn’t add any preservatives.
Be sure to come by the Sierra Vista Community Market on Saturdays so you can ask Gary for some salsa samples. This way you can find out which one of his delicious and healthy salsas is going to be your new favorite.