Ripeness is all

We are part of many communities today, whether at a local or global level.

It’s important to recognize, cherish, and embrace being part of many different communities. I embrace being born in Mexico, growing up in Texas, and now live in San Francisco. I have been fortunate to live in one of most accepting regions of the world. The Bay Area has thrived by embracing its diversity because it does not neglect the local community needs. Progressive as the Bay Area may be, it is exceptional in how local communities are keen to help each other in order to grow.

One of the benefits of living in a community like the Bay Area is the constant exposure to new types of social innovation. I came across Imperfect Produce as a way to buy locally grown produce at an affordable price. Looking for high quality produce is pricey in the Bay Area, particularly with the growing trend of health-conscious diets. Yet with such demand, supermarkets still turn away 20% of quality produce for small cosmetic reasons. Imperfect Produce steps in as a way to reduce this wastage. I don’t mind buying imperfect vegetables, especially if it’s discounted because either way it’s going to be cut up. It’s the inside that matters.

Although I would love to cook all of the produce I receive from Imperfect Produce I end up cutting it up and taking it on the go. I am always up and down the city so I tend to snack several times a day. I try to maintain healthy eating habits by only snacking on the fruits and vegetables. It’s naturally energy boosting so keeps me going during the day. However eating these cut up nutrients can be dull so sometimes I eat apples with peanut butter or even carrots with hummus.

I enjoy trying to find new ways of eating fruits and vegetables to reinforce that a healthy diet can be fun. By adding simple ingredients eating nutritious is less of drag. Since elementary school I remember my mom encouraged these eating habits by adding a spicy twist in my lunchbox. She would pack cut up apples with spicy sauce and chili powder. By adding that pizzazz she preserved our Mexican heritage reminding me of where I came from. I remember my American friends would be intrigued by the vivid colors of the salsas on top of the fruits. Even though I did not live in Mexico, I felt as if I was a local introducing them to these flavors. By maintaining my heritage with this snack I realized I loved sharing my culture with others because tradition is worth sharing. Especially if at one point my produce was considered “imperfect” then dazzled up with these spices receives remarks.

I am passionate about embracing my Mexican heritage as well as helping my local community. Since I am passionate about sharing and embracing my bicultural identity I built Don Chuy’s Snacks.

Don Chuy’s is an authentic way to engage “imperfect” produce in a localized Mexican way. It appeals to anyone looking to spice up his or her healthy eating habits.

The few memories I have of Mexican street markets I remember vividly.

As you walk through the streets with the colonial churches you discover smells and flavors truly unique. Nothing refreshes like the experience of fruta con chile (fruit with spices). I always liked the idea to buy fruit on the go because it is an easy snack to eat while walking, on top of that it is a healthy snack. The most common fruits to see on the fruit shopping carts are: mangos, oranges, cucumber, pineapple, jicama, watermelon, mango, shredded carrots, coconut, tuna (cactus), and strawberries. Sometimes the dish is just one kind of fruit other times is a bouquet of fruits. Then the gentleman or lady making the fruit cocktail will squeeze half of a fresh lime over the fruit in addition to spices. It’s a beguiling and deliriously good combination of sweetness balanced by salt, citrus, and spicy heat. The sprinkles of red chili seasoning make the color of the fruits glorious. Don Chuy’s will replicate this experience to offer a taste of this local Mexican liveliness.

I want to further cultivate my American and Mexican communities by introducing these Mexican street food dishes to the Bay Area. Particularly I would like to further make an impact by using produce otherwise thrown out because of “imperfections”. As we finish 2016 we need to continue to support our local and global communities whether by encouraging healthy lifestyles, trying new flavors, recognizing roots, or accepting the imperfection or uniqueness around us.