Startup Tucson has just completed its fourth round of Recipes for Success Food Accelerator as a part of a $300,000 USDA grant secured in 2020.
The accelerator ended with the Food Forward Showcase, a graduation and celebration of the cohort’s hard work and gave the opportunity to showcase their food products to the local Tucson community.
During the showcase, the 13 graduate companies demoed their food products and secret judges selected two prize winners with attendees also voting for the People’s Choice Award. Taking the top prize of $500 for its cocktail mixer samples was Cactus Water Sonoran Mixers. A second prize was awarded to Good Pierogi, who uses all locally sourced ingredients and sustainable packaging for handmade pierogies, and the People’s Choice Award went to 3 Empanadas, making Argentinian empanadas to be bought frozen and enjoyed at home.
The fourth cohort of Recipes for Success graduates worked to develop and grow their businesses over the course of 10 weeks. “The program was really awesome. I’m really grateful they were able to provide it for free. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot. The staff class lectures and incorporation of local small business owner mentors was done really well. Overall, 10/10.” – Francisca Aros, founder of Panchi’s Picositos and Recipes for Success participant. These graduates are joining over 50 other food entrepreneurs that have completed the program since its inception.
“This program has grown so much since we first started and it’s truly inspiring to see the graduates thrive, making their mark at local markets and expanding their online presence. It’s also amazing to see how the food ecosystem has rallied around the graduates and program itself to provide support,” said Liz Pocock, CEO of Startup Tucson. Founders of Tucson Tamale, Barrio Bread and many other local food heroes join during the cohort as guest speakers and mentors and the showcase featured keynote speaker Felipe Garcia, president and CEO of Visit Tucson. All classes and the showcase are hosted in partnership with University of Arizona’s
FORGE at Roy Place and even all the products served at the showcase are local, including wine sponsored by Sand-Reckoner Vineyards, beer sponsored by Pueblo Vida and RayRay’s Sonoran Tea.
Startup Tucson’s fifth cohort of the food accelerator will launch in fall 2023. “Even though our USDA funding concludes in Fall 2023, we plan to continue to run this program based on the demands and needs of our local food ecosystem. We are actively seeking new partnerships and additional funding sources to ensure the continued success and growth of this initiative,” said Liz Pocock, CEO of Startup Tucson.
Congratulations to all the fourth cohort food accelerator companies:
A take-and-make frozen product that brings classic Argentine flavors straight to your Tucson kitchen.
BattleBorn Coffee Roasters
A specialty coffee roaster in Tucson that sources raw beans from small farms that don’t use pesticides and then handcrafts each roast to bring out the best flavor of each origin.
Cactus Water Sonoran Mixers
Canned cocktail mixers inspired by the flavors of the Sonoran Desert. The company combines local ingredients and flavors such as tamarind, hibiscus, chiltepin, and mesquite with more common fruits like raspberry, and mango as an example. The mixers are non-alcoholic, but consumers can add the spirits or one of their favorites to create a refreshing, delicious cocktail.
Frozen Polish dumplings and a traveling Eastern European pop-up aiming to settle in Tucson.
La Reina Hot Sauce
Born of one man’s slightly desperate need to find a replacement for his favorite hot sauce, La Reina is a pandemic baby. La Reina Hot Sauce gives the perfect balance of flavor and spice that you want, but without the embarrassing sweats.
Picositos takes some favorite candy and spices them up with a bit of chili. You get a spicy sweet combination that leaves your taste buds addicted and wanting more.
Shaman’s Way offers premium sacred plant extracts, unique shamanic blends, and focus-enhancing nootropics at wholesale prices. A percentage of every dollar spent at Shaman’s Way is donated to nonprofits fighting to stop overdoses in Tucson.
Song & Sugar Sweets
Custom cakes, cupcakes and cookies for guests to enjoy for any occasion. Through the use of high-quality, fairly traded ingredients, along with a keen eye for detail, each dessert is guaranteed to taste as rich and decadent as it looks.
Sonora Factory Grill
Sonora Factory Grill is a drive-through service that offers fast and authentic carne asada cooked by a special grill that mimics the Sonoran style and ready in a few minutes.
Stash’s Juice Joint
Stash’s Juice Joint is a pop-up company that provides fresh juices and tonics for the people. Stash creates seasonal beverages, incorporating herbs and spices in every batch.
Sweets Cakes & Treats
Sweets Cakes and Treats is a dessert shop, providing a variety of comfort desserts, custom treats and cake jars.
Supper Club is a meal delivery service for those who love good food, but need a break from cooking. Each week’s menu highlights the best of Tucson’s local produce while incorporating flavors from around the world. Our chef prepares four-course meals (soup, salad, main with side, and dessert) and they are delivered right to clients’ front doors.
Tucson Citrus Company
The company uses local urban foraged grapefruit from backyard growers to create a delicious, unique flavored marmalade. Each jar helps support a healthy tree, grower and customer ecosystem.