Jorge Fierro’s story differs from that of many immigrants, as he left a relatively comfortable life in Mexico, where he was a law student, and found himself working alone as a sheepherder in Rawlins, Wyoming.
The founder of Rico Brand came to the United States in search of a dream, and although he wasn’t entirely sure what that was, he knew it was here. In particular, here in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he arrived in late summer of 1985.
In the latest episode of the Taste of Harmons Podcast, Jorge joins our hosts Chef Lesli Sommerdorf and Brandon Young to share his inspiring story. He grew up in Mexico watching Americans on television and was impressed by what he saw as an ability to help others and change lives through philanthropy. His eventual arrival in Salt Lake was the right fit for him, even though he doesn’t find his solace in religion. He does embrace the giving spirit of Utah’s population.
After arriving in Utah and making it his home, Jorge found the local Mexican food lacking, and the Rico Brand journey began with him selling pinto beans—De la olla—at the Downtown Salt Lake City Farmers’ Market.
Jorge says he has always embraced whatever journey he is taking, and his personal experiences have led him to reach out to those “who are forgotten,” the homeless and destitute. He spearheads the Burrito Project SLC, a group that gets together to roll burritos and feed the hungry and homeless in downtown Salt Lake City.
De la olla means “from the pot,” and this backbone of the Mexican meal became the backbone of Rico Brand. And with the belief that food is one of the pleasures of life, Jorge built his brand and his reputation, and now offers ready-to-eat Mexican foods for grocery stores.
Jorge is proud of his status as an American and lives his life with the motto of “pay it forward,” which he has tattooed on his arm.
He also embraces the motto, “Find what you love to do and let it kill you.” Hopefully, that won’t happen anytime soon, and we’ll be enjoying his amazing flavors for years to come.
Tune in to the podcast to learn more about Jorge Fierro, his journey to Utah, and the great partnership he shares with Harmons.
If you enjoyed this podcast, you’ll want to listen to our other episodes. You can find them here.
Jorge Fierro, owner of Rico Brand
When Jorge Fierro came to the United States from Mexico, he quickly discovered that the Mexican fare available in local grocery stores did not match up to his memory of home. With his mother’s recipe as inspiration, he began selling freshly cooked “De la Olla” pinto beans at the Downtown Salt Lake City Farmers’ Market.
From these humble beginnings, he built the brand to become a symbol of freshness and quality recognized across the state. Rico Brand still manufactures De la Olla beans along with salsas and guacamole, flour and corn tortillas, burritos, tamales, enchiladas, and more. All of the products are fresh, flavorful, authentic, handmade, and preservative and additive free, which is the Rico way.
At Harmons, we are lucky to have incredibly talented artists at each store, and we’re sure you’ve seen their amazing chalk art as you wander throughout every location. We’re excited to be able to feature some of their work as the featured art on our podcast blog. This week’s art is by David Croft, from our Brickyard location.