This Saturday night, February 27, at the Mineral Wells Sheriff‘s Posse Building from 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., Palo Pinto Challenge will hold it’s biggest fund raiser of the year. The Salsa Barons’ Ball will start with dinner, and the evening will consist of silent auctions, raffles, dancing, and door prizes with a grand prize of $1,500.00. Tickets are $100 for 2 people and are available through Wednesday at the Mineral Wells Chamber of Commerce or you can call Palo Pinto Challenge at 254-672-5738.
Jennifer Elmore is president and Barbara Cranfill is executive director of Palo Pinto Challenge which started in the Methodist Church building in Strawn in 1999. Their purpose is to teach life skills to challenged adults. The tool used to teach these skills is the production, sales and distribution of Hale Center Salsa .
When I visited, Poncho, Julia and James were busy sterilizing jars, blending the ingredients and putting just the precise amount of salsa in each jar. The pride in their job shows as they meticulously time, measure, and focus on each process. In the summer they grow their own tomatoes, onions and peppers that are used as part of the ingredients. After preparing the product to sell, they go to each store that handles the salsa and check inventory, restock and collect the money. If there is a place that doesn’t handle their product, they are the sales team that is sent in to clinch the deal. These young adults who wouldn’t have had anyplace to go after they graduated from high school, now have a job that teaches them life skills they can use throughout their lives.
Although Hale Center is a long way from Strawn, the salsa gets it’s name because the recipe came from a friend in Hale Center. They have now added two more products to their line. Jalapeño Cruzers (Candied Jalapeño) named for a local resident who gave them the recipe, and Jal-o Dollies (pearl onions in candied Jalapeño juice.
Palo Pinto Challenge is an United Way agency and donations to their non-profit group is tax deductible. Come join them at their annual Salsa Barons’ Ball and show your support of this much needed organization, and next time you see Hale Center Salsa in the refrigerated section of your local store, be sure and pick up a couple of jars. If your local store doesn’t have it, ask them why not?