Salsa

After some confusion about the Mississippi Cottage Food Law, Tracie’s Texas Salsa is shifting from its original home on Facebook to the Bazar’s Bakery storefront. 

Tracie’s Texas Salsa spent months of being one of the most popular topics in Hernando Happenings, a community Facebook group with over 23,000 members. However, an anonymous complaint was sent to the health department accusing Tracie Simmons of not following the Mississippi Cottage Food Law. Simmons had to immediately halt her salsa sales. Last Friday, she received an email from the health department notifying her of the complaint. 

The Mississippi Cottage Food Law allows people to make shelf-sustainable goods in their home kitchens and distribute them. These products include baked goods, acidified food, roasted coffee and jams and jellies. After moving to DeSoto County a couple of months ago, Simmons thought that her homemade salsa fell into that category, and began selling it on Facebook.

“I honestly thought I was doing everything correct,” she said. “I know that there are rules, and I didn’t mean to break them.”

After sharing the news that she’d cease her sales on social media, hundreds of fans and customers expressed their support and disappointment. 

“I love your salsa. I hope you can find a way to continue to make it,” one user wrote.

“We will keep on ordering. Love your salsa. Don't give up!” another user commented.

Tracie was in contact with the health department trying to find a solution. By Sunday, Simmons was working out a deal with Brenda Love, owner of Bazar’s Bakery in Hernando. Starting next Tuesday, customers can purchase Tracie’s Texas Salsa by the jar at the bakery, and the salsa is already served with a variety of items at the restaurant. 

Simmons will work as an employee of Bazar’s Bakery, using the commercial kitchen that Mississippi law requires the salsa to be produced. 

Love said that the salsa has already been popular at the restaurant, and she is excited to share this new endeavor with Simmons. 

“We’ve had several people come in (for the salsa),” Love said. “She had a big following and she obviously has really good salsa.”

Simmons and her family moved to DeSoto County in July, and she started selling the salsa as a form of supplemental income for the family during the COVID-19 pandemic. When she joined the Hernando Happenings page, her salsa became an instant sensation. On her first post, she received over 125 orders. 

Before making the move to Bazar’s Bakery, she made all of the salsa in her home kitchen and used her car’s trunk in the Kroger parking lot to distribute the family recipe salsa. In one month, Tracie sold over 500 containers of salsa and added new flavors.

Now, she’ll have a professional-grade kitchen where she can continue to meet the community’s demand. Simmons said that these circumstances have been a blessing in disguise for her  business.

“One door closes and another opens,” Simmons said. “Everything works out for a reason.”

Tracie’s Texas Salsa will be available at Bazar’s Bakery for purchase Tuesday, Dec. 22. The salsa is also served on the restaurant’s burritos and tacos.

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