Chips and salsa are sacred grounds for serious snackers. Choices abound: Blue corn vs. yellow corn vs. white corn? Mild vs. medium vs. hot? Saucy vs. chunky? Tomatillo vs. tomato? The decisions are enough to make your head spin (and your Mouth water). What Todd Simcox couldn’t find anywhere near his home of Bangor, Maine, however, was a store-bought salsa that tasted as good as the one he made.
His experimentations in salsa began at the end of a summer when faced with a glut of tomatoes from his home garden. He endlessly tweaked his recipe by bumping up the jalapeño here and scaling back on the garlic there until versions in mild, medium and hot were wowing everyone around him. Fueled by his chip-dipping fans, Todd decided to start a salsa business with his father, John, and a longtime friend, Erik Zola. Their big debut was at the Maine Harvest Festival in November 2013 and they ended up selling salsa as fast as they could make it. The jars were literally hot to the touch.
Since then, Todd’s Salsa has kicked things up a notch to accommodate demand, fulfilling requests from hot heads to bring the heat by adding habanero and ghost pepper to their lineup. And those of us who remember the 90s are thrilled that Todd brought back Inner Beauty Hot Sauce with its Caribbean accent and fruity, mustardy heat (don’t miss our CEO Craig’s explanation of his 25-year obsession with this sauce).
Despite all this growth, Todd’s Salsa remains small-batch and family run. Todd’s son, Connor, was especially grateful when production moved from their home kitchen to a commercial one—he was tired of wearing goggles to shield his eyes from onion fumes. And Lena, Todd’s wife, was honestly just happy to walk into work everyday not smelling like salsa.
Amazingly, Todd still hasn’t quit his day job. Afternoons and evenings are reserved for salsa (and family), while mornings are spent as the meteorologist for Bangor’s TV 5 Morning News. We don’t need to tune in to know that the forecast for Todd’s Salsa is hot, hot, hot.