Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Spotlight Story on Larry's Southwestern Sauces

Local man's line of southwestern sauces sees greater play
Larry Sombke knows a thing or two about food.

He's written about it, he's eaten it, he's cooked it and now, he's selling it.

In what is bound to be an encouraging success story to farmers market vendors all over, Sombke's line of natural sauces has gradually expanded to store shelves all over the immediate area and New England. He recently announced his southwestern sauces will be carried in area Price Choppers, a great step for the product line.

His recipe for success is simple.

“I'm slowly expanding, because when people taste my sauces they like it, then they buy it,” Sombke said.

The first jars of Larry's Southwestern Sauces were packed in the summer of 2009. He toured area farmers markets at first, including in Delmar, Voorheesville and Ballston Spa, before making it to shelves in independent grocers like McCarroll's in Delmar and Putnam Market in Saratoga Springs.

The brand grew to find a distributor, and is now in 70 stores, including 26 Whole Foods Markets all over New England.

Though he now resides in Delmar, Sombke developed his sauces far from the Capital District, in Missouri. There, as a chef at a natural foods restaurant, he developed his recipes.

“We used to go down to Texas and Mexico, traveling a lot, and I've always liked Mexican, southwestern food,” he said. “I started cooking that at the restaurant and people liked it...I've been cooking this for friends and family ever since.”

Sombke's sauce line includes a traditional Ranchero sauce, a smoky Chipotle sauce and a unique Mole sauce. All will assist in the creation of quality and authentic southwestern/Mexican dishes, and all are natural, preservative-free and gluten-free. The sauces are packaged by Casa Visco Fine Foods in Rotterdam.

For Sombke, selling his creations is another step in a long line of careers. He's worked in newspapers and television news, authored six cookbooks, writes a gardening column and was a producer on shows for CNN and PBS.

He also does substitute teaching and runs a consulting business. Of his varied roles, however, Sombke said he hopes Larry's Southwestern Sauces is destined for the most success.

“It's an exciting time to be a food producer. People are really interested in natural food, they're interested in foods that have great flavor...they're interested in foods that are produced by small companies,” he said. “It's daunting to get bigger, but it's a good thing.”

In addition to the stores mentioned above, Sombke's sauces can be found in Price Choppers in Queensbury, Wilton, Saratoga Springs, Clifton Park, Latham, Westgate Plaza in Albany, Rt. 155 in Colonie, Glenville/Scotia and Bethlehem in the natural/Tex-Mex section. For more information or to order online, visit www.larryssouthwesternsauces.com

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