A tasty new salsa recipe calls for a heap of giving, a dash of hope and a diverse mix of talents and goals.
Get your salsa
To learn more about Healing Farms or order Super Simple Salsa, go to www.healingfarms.org or http://foodforthesouthernsoul.com/shop/super-simple-salsa.
The Super Simple Salsa was created by a group of local young adults with disabilities working to discover their talents and skills now that their high school days are behind them. This holiday season, their creation is becoming a reality thanks to a string of people who have stepped in to help.
The young adults came together through Healing Farms Ministries, a local nonprofit that serves recently graduated high schoolers with developmental, cognitive and intellectual disabilities.
The participants developed the salsa during their Healing Farms time together and will use their creation to thank its donors and kick off what could turn into a larger business venture for them.
"This provides these young adults with disabilities an opportunity to direct their own futures," Healing Farms founder Mary Tutterow said.
Too often, these young adults find themselves unemployed and dependent on their parents for 24-hour care after graduation. Healing Farms seeks to fill the void left when public schools - and all the help that comes with them - aren't options anymore.
Operating out of a cozy house in West Ashley with an urban farm in its backyard, Healing Farms is organized around PODs (People Overcoming Disabilities). Each POD brings four young adults with disabilities into a group with one professional facilitator and two to four interns or volunteers.
Together, they explore activities that could lead to job skills and the discovery of new talents. Two favorites: gardening and cooking.
And therein lies the salsa.
The recipe's creation began when Abide-A-While Garden Center donated a variety of plants to the ministry, including numerous tomato plants.
The young adults grew such a bounty of tomatoes that they pickled green ones and experimented with different salsa recipes and pasta sauces.
Then, French cookware-maker Le Creuset of America opened its kitchen to the group. The young adults suddenly had a large, high-tech kitchen to work in and perfect their favorite recipe, the Super Simple Salsa.
"We were happy to support them," Le Creuset spokeswoman Grimsley Matkov said. "They are a great organization with a mission that makes sense for us."
Next came Jimmy Hagood, owner of Food for the Southern Soul, a specialty food and catering business. He offered to produce the salsa, from preparation to bottling and labeling to distribution.
Hagood also welcomed Healing Farms participants to explore jobs with his business. (Most said they want to work with labeling.)
A Christian ministry, Healing Farms primarily relies on private donors for support. It receives no government funds and offers a low-cost alternative for the many young adults waiting on long lists for government funding.
To help raise money, Healing Farms has launched a crowd-funding site. Donors can receive a jar of Super Simple Salsa as thanks and to spread the word about what the nonprofit is working to achieve. That could involve creating new salsa recipes and other products that support Healing Farms and its participants.
"We're on the verge of something terrific," Tutterow said.
Reach Jennifer Hawes at 937-5563, follow her on Twitter at @JenBerryHawes or subscribe to her at facebook.com/jennifer.b.hawes.
Ebony White, Healing Farms participant, picks tomatoes in the garden, part of her chores, Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at Healing Farms Ministries in West Ashley. (Paul Zoeller/postandcourier.com)×
Healing Farms participants Ebony White and David Hume pick tomatoes in the garden, their chores for the day, Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at Healing Farms Ministries in West Ashley. (Paul Zoeller/postandcourier.com)×
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