From Our Family to Yours
Representative Heather Wilson
Mr. Speaker, they say salsa is now our country's #1 condiment, beating out even the ketchup bottle. A New Mexico company known nationally for their salsa — and their green chile, and their tamales — is celebrating its fiftieth year of business this month.
Bueno Foods takes pride in sharing a part of New Mexico's culture through the wonderful food they produce and market nationally. Please join me in congratulating Bueno Foods and the Baca Family on fifty successful years and thank them for their contributions to our community.
In the beginning, for the Baca brothers, the company was a way to provide jobs for themselves and members of their community. After serving in World War II, several of the brothers had difficulty finding jobs in Albuquerque. Their father Refujio had worked for the Santa Fe Railroad all his life but had always dreamed of owning his own business. He encouraged his sons to start their own business.
The Ace Food Store, a neighborhood "mom and pop" grocery store, was born. They later saw a need to take their business in another direction. They expanded the store into carry-out, which featured traditional recipes by Filomena, the Baca brothers' mother. Also at this time freezers were becoming popular. The Baca brothers recalled the yearly family tradition popular throughout New Mexico for roasting fresh green chile over an open flame and freezing it for the winter months. They decided to take this home process into a commercial one and make this very special family tradition the focus of their restaurant and retail product lines. Food processing became their niche.
Under the leadership of Jacqueline Baca, President (the daughter of founder Joe Baca), Bueno Foods' sales have grown six-fold and the number of employees has tripled. She started in the business at the age of sixteen making tamales.
Jacqueline is joined by her siblings in the family business. Gene Baca is Senior Vice President, Catherine Baca, MD, is Vice President of Research and Development, Ana Baca is Communications Manager, and Marijo Baca pioneered the distribution of Bueno's products in the Colorado market. Together, they make the company's slogan, "From Our Family to Yours," a reality.
The Baca Family is committed to our community. From its start with five employees to more than 240, located in the Barelas Industrial Park, Bueno is one of the largest employers in this "Pocket of Poverty." Bueno contributes between three and six percent of after-tax profits to organizations that help people meet basic needs, including housing, food, and education. Among the many honors earned by Bueno Foods, in April 2000, they received the first annual New Mexico Ethics in Business Award recognizing the integrity, ethical conduct, and the highest standards of civic and social responsibility that is part of daily operations within the company.
Please join me and other New Mexicans in honoring the Baca Family and Bueno Foods.
[Taken from the Congressional Record, 15 May 2001, page E804.]