When European explorers came to the New World, they were searching for gold. If they’d been of a more culinary frame of mind, they might have spent a little more time checking out the local cuisine, where they’d have discovered exciting new foods to liven up those dull Old World menus. Several hundred years later, the modern world has discovered the zest of the food enjoyed by the Aztecs. Cesario Ruiz, who founded My Mom’s Mole in 2013, has combined pre-Columbian flavor with responsibly sourced production practices to launch his tasty mole into the next phase of its business plan. He’s created a Barnraiser crowdfunding campaign to raise the $9000 that his company needs to increase its production capacity, launch a series of cooking classes, add a new team member for in-store product demos, and establish direct partnerships with local farms whose produce will be used to make the mole powder.
If the amount of crowdfunding support so far is any indication, a lot of people are ready to follow Ruiz’s suggestion to “Spice up your life!” with My Mom’s Mole; with just over a week remaining in the campaign, donors have already given $8,950 of the targeted goal. Why is everyone so excited about mole? Taste tells the story. Generally, today’s moles contain ground chiles, nuts, herbs and spices. Some moles have only five ingredients, but My Mom’s Mole boasts 25! Mole’s lively appeal comes not only from the spices and ingredients—typically chilies and spices—but from the personal touch supplied by the cooks from all over the world. Whether you’re a vegetarian or you observe a vegan diet, My Mom’s Mole is a natural fit for your home cuisine because no animal products are used. You can choose to add it as a spice to a marinade or simmer it with your favorite stock for mole sauce; enjoy the versatility it adds to your table.
After the website and online stores were introduced in August of this year, the response was so enthusiastic that Ruiz and his team realized that what’s needed is a series of lessons aimed at the broader community. Those who are new to the adventure that’s mole can look forward to a series of monthly cooking classes that will soon be launched. The Mysteries of Mole Unlocked, as the classes are called, will benefit from the crowdfunding support because the cost will be reduced to an affordable $25 per person.
Ruiz’s Mexican culinary startup is based in Watsonville, California, but the city that’s called the Strawberry Capital of the World has found room for this spicy product that retains its cultural authenticity in a region that produced more than $5.5 billion worth of agriculture in 2014; that’s almost 3 percent of the nation’s total production. There are expansive plans for the future; one ambitious plan is to grow organic chili peppers in the Santa Cruz/Monterey/San Benito County region. The inspiration for that goal arises from the fact that organic chili peppers aren’t even grown in the area. Time for a change.
It’s not just about the food. It’s about conscience as well. Organizations like FOODWHAT, Digital NEST, and Friends of Santa Cruz whose values align with the company will benefit from crowfunding support. Backers of My Mom’s Mole who donate $250 or $500 will see their generosity stretch as the company gives a $125 donation to these organizations that partner with low-income youth.
Cuisine with a conscience; that’s My Mother’s Mole.