Scouring the Bernice Garden Farmers Market recently for something new to eat, I came across a unique product that is definitely more than the sum of its parts: Pratt Family Salsa mix. This tasty blend of herbs and spices is one of the most versatile Arkansas-made products I’ve used, with applications that stretch well beyond basic salsa (although the salsa it makes is mighty fine).
Pratt Family Salsa starts in Scottsdale, Arizona back in the mid-1980s. At that time, Donald Pratt was a great home cook who developed a salsa recipe that became a hit with almost everyone who tried. When Don Pratt was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he passed his secret recipe to his brother Dennis Pratt, and after several years of making it for family and friends, Dennis and his family decided to honor Donald Pratt’s memory by selling his salsa to the public.
But the problem I’ve always had with jarred goods at the farmers market is that they’re often heavy, and great care must be taken to keep the jars from breaking — something that can be hard to do at a crowded market full of folks jostling one another. The Pratt family must have had the same idea, because they adapted Donald Pratt’s recipe into a dry spice mix sold in light, strong plastic bags that are perfect to carry around nestled in the bottom of a shopping bag. Instructions on the bag of each bag (which comes in mild, medium, or hot varieties) tell the home cook how to add their own fresh or canned tomatoes so that the salsa becomes something they can make any time. Even better, each bag makes several batches, so having some in the pantry translates to maximum salsa potential at any time.
This dry mix can be used for many other things beyond basic salsa, though. I’ve used it as seasoning for guacamole and as an addition to a spice mix for blackened catfish. It makes a great addition to barbecue sauce or dry rubs, and I can’t wait for cool weather to come back so that I can add some to a big bot of deer chili. The Pratt Family is well aware of the versatile nature of their mix, and they’ve put together several recipes on their website to give home cooks ideas about what to do with their mix — something that I bet a seasoned home cook like Donald Pratt would think is great.
If you can’t make it to the farmers market to get the salsa mix, the Pratt Family Salsa website has links to buy the mix on their website. If you’re in the area, though, I suggest paying Dennis Pratt a visit — he’ll have salsa made up and ready to sample, and he’s a warm and friendly guy who loves talking about his family’s product. I’ve been a Pace Picante Sauce guy for many years, but after adding Pratt Family mix to a bowl of diced Arkansas tomatoes (which are coming into season RIGHT NOW) and onions, I’ve been converted — and I bet you will be, too.