While working as a fresh produce writer at the FPFC Northern California Expo 2017 last month, I came across an unexpected treat, perfect for carnivores like myself—Wet Rubz Gourmet Sauces, the latest offering from A&A Organic Farms.
So, how did these organic produce providers make their way into the world of savory marinades and sauces for pork, chicken, shrimp, and beef, especially tri-tip? I reached out to Wet Rubz Co-Founder and Co-Owner Aimee Martin to find out.
“For years, Andy was making what we call our Santa Maria Marinade, and our friends and family kept saying: ‘You need to bottle this; you need to bottle this,’” Aimee tells me. In fact, Andy’s recipe for this wet alternative to dry rubs, ideally suited to the California coast staple tri-tip, predates the couple’s produce business.
Though the two only launched the Wet Rubz brand in 2015 with its Santa Maria Style Marinade—available in both 13-oz bottles for retail and 1-gallon foodservice containers—Andy has been developing and refining the recipe for years in his capacity as a chef.
When Aimee first met her husband, Andy owned an Italian restaurant in Santa Cruz county, and she tells me his beginnings in cuisine extend even further back: “Andy grew up in an Italian family, and we both grew up cooking, loving food, and being in families where food was a mainstay of entertainment. Andy’s grandparents lived in Gilroy. His Italian paternal grandparents had a tradition of going out into the fields, gathering what was left over from the harvest, and crafting antipastos and marinades and sauces. So, that was kind of in his bones.”
In 1989, though, the couple experienced a significant setback when the Loma Prieta earthquake hit, devastating much of the Bay Area and depressing tourism in Santa Cruz county. After making the difficult decision to shutter their restaurant, the two decided to search for work that would give them more family time.
“Andy ended up working for what was, at the time, a small farm selling to restaurants. He sold a lot of high-end salad mixes and herbs—all organic,” Aimee says. “And when he started selling organic produce, he got to see a different side of it. He worked for a couple farms, then for a distributer, and ended up deciding that the best way to treat farmers fairly and to give them what they deserved would be to open our own business.”
The couple founded A&A Organic Farms to better address their ethical responsibility to growers and ensure growers of quality organic produce had the resources to thrive and grow great food. And the success that they had in organic produce allowed the two to finally bottle Andy’s signature marinade.
And recently, the brand introduced an Organic Sesame Sriracha Sauce –a sauce Aimee describes as “great right out of the bottle and a little more complex than your standard Sriracha sauce.”
Both Wet Rubz products are non-GMO, USDA-certified organic, dairy-free, and vegan, and Aimee and Andy are currently at work developing other sauces with intriguing flavor profiles.
For more on this and other exciting companies in the deli industry, stay tuned to Deli Market News.