Friday, March 18th, Remi Vista’s Ripe from the Farm award-winning salsa spiced up its fundraising dinner. 

SALSA! We have the Aztecs, Mayans, and Incas to thank for creating salsa, a spicy sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, and ground squash seeds which they used to season turkey, venison, lobster, and fish. From the first, the popular condiment has brought zest to almost any dish (some even add it to ice cream!). Friday, March 18th, Remi Vista’s Ripe from the Farm award-winning salsa spiced up its fundraising dinner.  

Ripe from the Farm is Remi Vista’s job skill training program for youth 16-21 years old. Siskiyou Employment and Training Employment Program (STEP) refers the youth to Remi Vista which then provides job skill training in their Farm program. One acre of land in Grenada is donated by Apples of Gold to the organization and Amy Truby, Program Manager at Remi Vista in charge of the Job Skills provides training.

Participants learn cooking and gardening skills, particularly how to make the program’s award winning salsa.

“The kids learn farming skills; they raise all the salsa’s ingredients from seed,” Truby said. “They also learn packaging and distributing skills, customer service skills, sales, office work, and administration. They gain a sense of confidence and develop the ability to interact professionally with customers,” she added.

“They learn a lot about team work, about working together to accomplish a common goal. Everything they do at Ripe from the Farm helps them develop personally and professionally,” Truby noted. “It’s a very successful program for the kids and for the community.”

Six cooks, among them job skill participants Kim Sanders, Renee Mix, Jimmy Browand, and Eva Thompson, began the prep work for the fundraiser Thursday at the Farm. The meal featured the program’s salsa, homemade tortillas with fresh roasted vegetables or shredded chicken, beans and rice, dessert, and a drink. “There was a lot of prep work involved,” Truby laughed. “But we had fun.”

The Friday night fundraiser had two seatings. “I think we’ll be sold out,” Truby said.
“Community support for the program is just incredible. STEP is facing budget cuts due to the economy, so this fund raiser supplements what they provide; all the proceeds will be used to employ the kids. So many people believe in us and were so generous.”

“Coffee Connection donated the space for the night,” Truby added. “We have fifteen raffle items, including a 2 day canoe trip on the Klamath, golf rounds at Lake Shastina and the Mt. Shasta Resort. Jewelry, photo shoots, landscape design consultation, gourmet food baskets, a stay at the Mt. Shasta Ranch Bed and Breakfast, an oil change and tire rotation at S.J. Denham. Even Aikido instruction, a gift certificate at The Goat Tavern and at Ms. Lynn’s Tea House. It was a ground swell of community support!”

Diners braved the mid-March snow storm to attend the event. “I wanted to support Remi Vista, the kids and have a good home cooked meal.” Gretchen Gerlitz, who brought her mother as a guest, said. “I had to taste this delicious homemade salsa, “Gretchen’s mom added.

“I love their salsa,” Coreena Affleck said. “I wanted to support Remi Vista and their job program,” Greta Hanelt, Coreena’s friend said. “I’m a salsa connoisseur, so that’s why I came,” Greta’s husband Matt said. “I’m in heaven because this IS the best salsa I’ve ever had!”

Randy and Paula Cardoza also came to support Remi Vista; unlike many others, Paula had never tasted the famous salsa. “It’s great!” Paula laughed. “It has zip—just like I like it!”

“The salsa makes the meal special,” Joie DeFond agreed. “Things are hard right now for all service agencies; it’s important that the community get out to support them. It’s a win-win; you get a great meal for a great price while supporting a great program!”

Willy and Claudia Thompson, Apples of Gold owners, also came to support Remi Vista. “They’re doing a wonderful job. I really get a thrill at the day’s end because the kids thank me for letting them work there,” Willy bragged. “They’re great tonight too; the service is incredible,” Claudia smiled.

“Tonight was great,” Melissa Lopez, job skill participant said. “I loved serving everyone. Thanks for coming!”

“We feel very supported by the community,” Renee Mix, another program participant added. Mix served the Farm’s newest creation, a zucchini relish including ingredients grown on the farm. “We’ll sell it at Berryvale soon.”

“We had a good time tonight,” Mix smiled. “We’re amazed at the turnout; we feel so supported.”

Truby encourages those wanting to support Ripe from the Farm to call 926-1436. “People can special order the salsa. Also, they can support a kid or volunteer at the Farm. We couldn’t do it without community support and we’re always happy to add one more person to our family!’”