Monday, February 13, 2012

Emerald Valley Salsa: Go Local?

Since moving away from Oregon in about 2004 (to live in Savannah, GA then Pleasantville, NY, then Austin, TX), one of the local foods i have missed the most is Emerald Valley Salsa. Fresh ingredients, just the right amount of spicy, no sugar or msg or any other nasties including preservatives added, this local salsa was only found close to the source.

Emerald Valley Salsa - my favorite, no longer local product

But sadly, i returned to find that although E.V. is still delicious, it is no longer local. They sold out. You can see subtle differences in the packaging: the logo and ingredients are no longer printed directly on the plastic tubs, they're just stickers affixed to the lid and sides. The salsa seems to taste pretty much the same, but now i'm purchasing what used to be concocted and made up right down the road in Eugene, OR is now manufactured in Kent, Washington** by a company based in Salinas, CA. That puts a few more miles on my favorite condiment before it ever reaches my local market. It also lost a few (25 or so) local jobs. Monterey Gourmet Foods took over Emerald Valley, and although the salsa is still organic and still delicious, it's just not quite the same knowing that my favorite local condiment is no longer as local.
** The article sourced for that information is a bit old, and the packaging on EVsalsa now reads 'manufactured in Fullerton, CA. Dang, even further away.

It seems that even Mel Bankoff, who founded the company in Eugene in 1983 is nonplussed by the change his big-dollar sell-out made to the quality and mission behind his product:
Bankoff sold Emerald Valley Kitchen in 2002 to Monterey, then Monterey Pasta Co., for $5.5 million. He stayed on to head Monterey's organics division but said he grew disillusioned as top management changed and didn't exhibit the commitment to organics and employees that he advocated. Three years later, Bankoff resigned.
-OregonLive .com

Emerald Valley Salsa - my favorite, no longer local product
So,  a few jobs lost, a few miles added to my 'carbon footprint' and 1 disolusioned business owner later, I just have to settle with my Washington made salsa. It is still pretty delicious, i have to say.

Have you ever had a favorite local product, only to find out that it was no longer local?

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