There's no one quite like Kelly of Plucked Fresh Salsa. She's an energetic spokeswoman for her product, a hardworking mom who puts in long hours at the food processor, and a musician with a killer voice who gets us all singing along to 80's hits in the kitchen. As anyone who has met Kelly knows, she really makes an impression. And her four delicious salsa types are pretty hard to forget as well! Below, Kelly answers our questions about entrepreneurship and salsa life.
What was your first job?
I worked at Rick's Cafe as a busser when I was super young. I had just moved up here from the Boston area. That was also the first place I sang to an audience on stage! I was around 12 or 13.
How did you get involved with food work?
My father worked in restaurants in various positions our entire lives - he then moved into sales in the food industry. I am a lot like him so I guess you could say that I took (sort of) the same path that he did. I love cooking in general though! It reminds me of being in the kitchen with my Mom and Dad.
How did Plucked Fresh Salsa come into being?
Friends I worked with at MEMIC loved my salsa, and they asked me to bring them some. After my son was born, I didn't really have time for all of that. They kept asking, and asking, so eventually I caved. I made them a couple jars of salsa and put it on my Facebook page around 4 years ago. People started emailing me asking me how they could get it. I kept telling them no, but they wouldn't listen. So, my husband and I would make salsa at night when my son was sleeping and we would bring it into work in coolers and deliver jars of salsa door to door on our lunch breaks. I did that for a couple months and figured I could just start a small business and stay at home with my son. And...well...Plucked Fresh Salsa was born.
What's the best part of being an entrepreneur?
I think it's pretty cool to create something from absolutely nothing. I always think it's crazy that people I don't know buy my salsa. I figure it's just my friends or my parents that go in and buy the salsa!
What motivates you to continue and grow your business?
I really want to make my parents proud. It’s so cheesy, but it’s true.
Who are some food entrepreneurs that you admire?
I admire all of us - myself included. This business, and being an entrepreneur, is hands down the hardest thing I've ever done. And I've met a lot of people through working with them at Fork. I see the ones that are just starting out and busting their ass, and the ones that have been doing this for years. The ones that are selling and sampling. The food trucks that are prepping and preparing at Fork and then out serving the public. There is a lot of heart that goes into it. It's sort of like we're one big family - one big, bad ass family.
What’s your go-to weeknight dinner?
I'm all about the food prep now. I have 2 kids and a husband, and everyone is on different schedules. So I do a lot of food prep on Sunday, and I also order through Carr Eats!
Where do you like to eat in Maine?
Um, let's be honest - it's more like, where do you like to go for a couple drinks? My favorite place right now is Bingas in Windham. Great food, great drinks, and every single person who works there is awesome.