Steph's Salsa Partners with Create Common Good

BOISE, Idaho (May 4, 2015) — Steph’s Seriously Good Salsa is partnering with Create Common Good, a Boise-based social enterprise using food to change lives and build healthy communities, to produce its fresh, all-natural products. Introduced in 2011, the local salsa brand is available in four varieties — mild, medium, spicy, and pineapple — at nine Albertsons stores in Boise, Eagle, and Meridian, as well as the Boise Co-Op, Natural Grocers, and Whole Foods Market in the refrigerated gourmet and service-deli departments. Made with natural preservatives and no GMO ingredients or added sugar, Steph’s Seriously Good Salsa is also available in Idaho Falls at Natural Grocers, in Salt Lake City at two Whole Foods Markets, and in Jackson, Wyo., at Albertsons, Jackson Whole Grocer, and Lucky’s Market.

Stephanie Bennett, founder, inventor, and namesake of Steph’s Seriously Good Salsa, says her partnership with CCG officially began in early April and couldn’t be a better fit. “I love their program and what they’re trying to accomplish by helping people gain marketable job skills and earn a living wage, and I’m really excited to be a part of that,” she says. “The vibe is fun and lively, and I’ve really enjoyed meeting and working with everyone there. Plus, handing off production to Create Common Good frees me up from having to manage my own commercial kitchen and covering all the overhead so I can focus on expanding sales and distribution of Boise’s number-one salsa.”

Kelly Parker, CCG’s director of community engagement and sales, agrees the relationship is mutually beneficial. “We’re thrilled to be able to provide a resource for a small, local business to grow and expand beyond what they can do themselves, all the while knowing that’s providing sustainable funding for our job training and placement programs,” she says. “Our partnership with Steph’s Salsa is also exciting, because it has allowed us to grow our capabilities to include food packaging.”

A growing number of restaurants and retailers are turning to Create Common Good for help with food production, including Jacksons Food Stores, Parrilla Grill, 13th Street Pub and Grill, Flatbread Neapolitan Pizzeria, Ranch Market. Parker says the trend is critical to the nonprofit’s business model and its long-term quest for self-sufficiency.

Although the organization’s food-production services vary from customer to customer, Parker says they all have one thing in common: They are all having a critical business need met while making a lasting impact on those who need it most in our community.

CCG staff and trainees produce black beans, pinto beans, jambalaya, and Thai curry to spec for Parrilla Grill’s Hyde Park restaurant, and they create fresh salsas and salad dressings for its location at the Boise Airport. They make Flatbread Neapolitan Pizzeria’s proprietary chocolate-chip cookie dough and peanut-butter cookie dough, freeze it, and deliver it to individual locations where the cookies are baked fresh in store. And they chop all the onions for Jacksons Food Stores and produce a Jacksons-branded grab-and-go line that includes a fruit cup, crispy pita chips with hummus, a Greek yogurt parfait, and red grapes with cheese cubes.

All of which helps fund CCG’s food-related job-training programs for refugees and other people with barriers to employment. Parker says it costs $4,680 on average to train a Create Common Good graduate, but the payoff is tremendous.

“Since 2008, 437 people have graduated from our foodservice training program and earned more than $15 million in additional wages,” Parker says. “Create Common Good graduates enjoy a 91 percent placement rate into jobs with potentially viable career paths that pay living wages and sometimes even benefits. Their average hourly wage before entering our job-training program is $1.13 compared to $9.57 upon placement after graduation.”

ABOUT CREATE COMMON GOOD Create Common Good uses food to change lives and build healthy communities. In addition to providing job-training and placement services to refugees and other populations with barriers to employment, the social enterprise offers youth development, healthy-access programs, and daily volume-production food services via a local farm and large commercial kitchen. Create Common Good programs transform lives and enrich communities by empowering self-sufficiency, developing youth leaders, and improving the health of communities through experiential nutrition education and feeding programs. The group’s world-renowned executive chef and director of culinary training, Brent Southcombe, has nearly three decades of experience in restaurants and five-star hotels and was named Chef of the Nation for Australia and New Zealand in 1997. Visit www.createcommongood.org to learn more, make a donation, or volunteer.

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Kelly Parker