Smodcast with Kevin Smith: History of Garden Fresh Salsa

Smodcast with Kevin Smith: History of Garden Fresh Salsa

Smodcast with Kevin Smith, Jack Aronson, Mitch Albom | History of Garden Fresh Salsa

The full interview with Jack Aronson about the history of Garden Fresh Salsa can be heard here. Pictured above, from left to right: Mike Griffin (Creative Guru at Garden Fresh), Kevin Smith, Mitch Albom and Jack Aronson, President of Garden Fresh Salsa.

A Condiment Empire

Kevin Smith‘s warm timber bellows from the speakers of my Mac as I listen intently to his Smodcast with special guest, Jack Aronson: the “Salsa King of the Known Universe”.

Dude, you built an empire out of a condiment. You are a modern day Heinz. That’s one of the greatest success stories I have ever heard in my life and it’s all predicated on not a guy going “how do we make money” but a guy going “I like this salsa. You should have this salsa”. ~ Kevin Smith

I am wildly entertained as Jack takes us on an adventure, covering the rich history of Garden Fresh Salsa: the blueprint of an American success story.

We doubled every year for six years. It was tough to keep up with the infrastructure.  ~ Jack Aronson

A Brand is Born

Jack was about 45-years-old with five kids and “optimistic to a fault” when the idea took root. Him and his wife, Annette, began making fresh salsa out of the back of their small diner in Ferndale, Michigan, after returning from the Fiery Food Show in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the source of their inspiration.

There was a lot of great fresh salsa in all of those great little restaurants. ~ Jack Aronson

And you did it midlife. Not many people make that change or find it very tough to change courses midstream when they’re like security’s here, comfort’s here, this is familiar, we can keep our nose down and just do this. But instead you saw just this little hole where you’re like, yeah, I’ll fill it. ~ Kevin Smith

Fresh salsa is something folks are really romantic about and Jim Hiller of Hiller’s Markets was no exception. After first bite, he begged the Aronsons to package it for his stores.

The Garden Fresh brand was born.

We got it in Hiller’s and started knocking on doors. Before you know it, we had 78 stores from here to Grand Rapids. ~ Jack Aronson

Garden Fresh Gourmet Artichoke Garlic Salsa

Passion & Soul

With a lot of hard work, passion and determination, the Aronsons went from making 20 pints of salsa in about an hour to averaging about 150,000 pints per day today, becoming the largest producer of fresh salsa in America.

Look at how vibrant you are. You’re on this Chautauqua that began 16 years where you were like, “I’d like to make some salsa” and it’s aggregated into a bigger success story than you probably ever fathomed for yourself. Whenever you talk about it, your eyes light up – when you talk about just the ingredients, or the building of it. You can see it’s your passion. ~ Kevin Smith

Jack Aronson | President & co-founder of Garden Fresh Salsa

As big as you are, we want to salute you. The fact that you grew is impressive and the fact that you’re large is impressive but what’s really impressive is that you took your success and said okay I’ve gotta doing something else with it and we thank you for it. ~ Mitch Albom

The Smodcast

To listen to the full interview with Jack Aronson, click here.

He’s doing the Lord’s work right here in the midwest! How awesome. It’s very rarely you hear about an American success story where some person did well and then others did well because of that person.  It’s nice, you’re sharing the wealth. Thank God you didn’t sell your company, man. Do it. Do it until toes up. ~ Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith is an American screenwriter, actor (think Silent Bob in Clerks), film producer, and director, as well as a popular comic book writer, author, comedian/raconteur, and podcaster. Mitch Albom is an American best-selling author, journalist, screenwriter, dramatist, radio and television broadcaster and musician.