at Fathead Jerky in Milwaukee, where That Salsa Lady products
In 2011, Angela
Moragne, a lifelong Milwaukee resident, found herself in the most
unwelcome of situations — her employer, a nonprofit housing
development, announced it was shutting its doors, and she was left
unemployed. It was this same company’s vibrant urban garden,
however, that would prove to be the catalyst behind her current
success. The garden had provided fresh produce to the development’s
residents, a program Moragne had long admired, so instead of letting
the plot perish with its owner, Moragne and her daughter, Stevey
Pitts, began using its ingredients to make, market and sell salsa.
"The salsa garden was free, we were broke, so we thought, ‘Hey,
we can use this!’ And that’s how we got started." explains
later, Moragne and her daughter have built their salsa-making
experiment into a full-fledged business — a food production company
named That Salsa Lady. They use ingredients provided by local urban
agriculture programs (Alice’s Garden, Walnut Way, Vincent High
School and Growing Power, to name a few) to manufacture each kind of
salsa, which now includes more than 13 varieties and a queso dip. And
in 2012, the mother-daughter duo launched The CHip CHick, a natural
next step that addresses their consumers’ demand for high-quality
The salsa and
chips can be purchased at farmers’ markets and storefronts
throughout the city, but Moragne’s ultimate goal is to be in every
corner store. "It would be great to be in the big supermarkets,
but people in ‘food desserts’ don’t have access to the big
supermarkets," she explains.
Her desire to
improve Milwaukee’s ever-evolving food system is one that begins
with first helping lower income communities, bringing healthy foods
into otherwise impoverished areas. "Our philosophy is that a
for-profit business shouldn’t just be for its own profit," she
says. "To have the biggest impact, it must be for the profit of
all those that we are impacting."
is best reflected in That Salsa Lady’s "Flava Forward"
campaign, which ensures that no one is denied access to their products
because of monetary limitations. The campaign pools together the cash
or credit card tips collected from sales and redistributes these funds
to those who may be short a few dollars that day and therefore unable
to purchase a product. "No excuse is needed. We’ll cover
you," adds Moragne. "No one will walk away without
Moragne is also
quick to stress the versatility of That Salsa Lady products. "The
biggest thing is for people to know that our salsa can literally go
with every meal," she adds. Her best personal recommendation?
Combining the roasted herb and garden salsa with tomato paste and
using it as a pasta sauce. "I love pasta!" she says with a
laugh. To learn more about That Salsa Lady or where to purchase the
products, visit thatsalsalady.com.