MADE IN NEVADA: Killer Salsa

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GARDNERVILLE, Nev. (KOLO) - This article is featuring a local business said to make "Killer Salsa," which is the name of the Company.

You might have seen this salsa in one of more than 100 local stores including Costco, Walmart, Safeway, Raley's, Smith's, WinCo Foods, and Sac 'n Save.

All the salsa is made from just one blender.

"I kind of made it up in my head. I had a basic recipe and then I just kind of embellished on it," says Killer Salsa CEO Fran Pritchard.

She is the founder of Killer Salsa. It was dreamed up in the San Francisco Bay area in the early 1990s.

"I was a food manager at a little satellite cafeteria and I made a gallon of salsa every week," Fran said.

Fran says she perfected the recipe in just 20 minutes. Her customers said it was so good they dubbed it "Killer Salsa" and the name stuck.

"Salsa is pretty basic. It's tomatoes, jalapenos, onions, and spices. It's a very simple basic recipe. It's the recipe you'd make at home in your own kitchen," said Fran.

A short time later Fran and her husband moved to Minden in northern Nevada.

"Savings was disappearing fast. Everybody said I made good salsa. Lets see if the public will buy it," Fran said she recalled thinking at that time in her life.

She launched the business in 1993 on Super Bowl Sunday. She sold 14 pints the first day outside the local mini mart where she worked three days a week. Since then, her customer base has grown almost non-stop.

"The hardest part is getting people to try the salsa, to taste it. You can have the most beautiful packaging in the world. You can have the best marketing program, but if you don't have a good-tasting product, you're not going to succeed," Fran said.

Fran says once people try her salsa, "They don't go back to the other ones."

Her Killer Salsa starts with cans of tomatoes to keep a consistent flavor from month to month. Then fresh jalapenos, granulated garlic and crushed red pepper are added. Next, fresh and frozen cilantro with pickled jalapenos and carrots along with onions.

Ascorbic acid adds Vitamin C and helps keep the salsa fresh. "If anything it intensifies the flavor. It sharpens it up," Fran says.

A secret blend of spices is finally added to give Fran's salsa its signature flavor. "I had someone say to me your salsa is sweet and I said it's sweet because it's got carrots in it."

There is actually no sugar in this salsa.

Fran's small crew packs 48-ounce containers for Costco customers. Smaller batches are poured into 14.6-ounce containers to be sold in the fresh sections of stores. They hold the Original, Garlic, and Hot Flavors.

Cans are filled with Original, Hot, XX Hot, Smoked Chipotle, Verde, and Garlic.

Click here to go to the Killer Salsa Web page where you can also place an order to buy one of the products.