You’ve probably seen the fresh-made salsa and guacamole in Harmons produce department, but you may not know the story behind it. In the latest episode of the Taste of Harmons Podcast, Chef Lesli and Brandon visit with Bob Harmon and Robert Seegmiller to talk about a few of our made fresh in store products.
In the early 2000s, Harmons was transforming into a fresh and clean retailer with an emphasis on healthier ingredients, and a concern was the incredible waste stream on fresh tomatoes. A lot of thought went into the different ways to lessen that waste. The tomatoes couldn’t be given to food banks, because they are highly perishable, but so many pounds of tomatoes were being wasted that the idea to make salsa was born.
It didn’t go quickly after that, as two years went into refining the recipe for the incredible fresh-made concoction, with experimentation on the best kinds of tomatoes, peppers, onions, and seasonings until the recipe became solidified and Harmons salsa was born.
Every day, sous chefs “shop” the produce shelves, just like our customers do, and pick the ripest tomatoes, avocadoes, and peppers and then create the fresh-made salsa and guacamole that is a staple on many Utah tables.
Bob even shares the complete list of ingredients in the salsa, but you’ll have to listen to the podcast for that information. And for those who want to try to make their own, we have to ask, “why would you?” Harmons salsa is made fresh every day, with no preservatives aside from the natural lime juice that is added.
The segue into guacamole came after the salsa but followed the same pathway. Avocados are a great, healthy food and also highly perishable, so the guacamole recipe was launched. While neither endeavor has completely eliminated produce waste, they have greatly reduced it, and both are a great addition to any meal. Bob even shares some of ways he uses the salsa to spice up his cooking.
Next up on the podcast is Robert Seegmiller, a man Bob Harmon calls a “produce guru.” He doesn’t use that term lightly.
Robert started at Harmons at the tender age of 16, first “shagging carts” and bagging, and then making his way to produce, an arena he has never left. He worked his way up the produce ladder, and now serves as the fresh produce sales director, and as such oversees all things salsa, guacamole, and amazing fresh vegetables and fruits.
While, like Bob, he has a soft spot for our salsa and guacamole (he likes his salsa spicy), Robert took a bit of time to talk about an addition to the flavorful team: pineapple salsa.
When mango salsa became the rage, Harmons looked into the possibility of adding it to the lineup, but mangos are very time-intensive, so an alternative was found with the pineapple. The recipe is basically the same as that for the tomato salsa, but with pineapple as the base, and Robert believes there is no limit to what you can achieve, flavor wise, by adding pineapple salsa to your meal plan.
In addition to separate containers of guacamole and salsa, you can buy containers that combine the two amazing products.
Robert also shares a few secrets about how they keep the guacamole from turning brown immediately (remember, there are no artificial preservatives.) Thicker containers and well-trained sous chefs are the biggest factors, he says.
Along with the above-mentioned fresh-made products, Harmons also has a great fruit dip that is dietitian approved, and we also offer bruschetta, made with Roma tomatoes, basil, garlic, and olive oil. While many Utahns are not familiar with this tasty treat, it’s probably time to try it, and it goes wonderfully on a baguette or another artisan bakery loaf.
As Chef Lesli points out, Robert Seegmiller eats, sleeps, and dreams produce. And all of Harmons customers are luckier for it.
Find our made fresh in store salsa and guacamole here.