A farmers market favorite has made the leap to grocery stores.
Quebracho's frozen empanadas can now be purchased at the Seward Co-op, with more stores to come, including Coastal Seafoods and Mississippi Market. They're only selling a vegetarian option for now, with additional flavors slated for 2021.
The move took years of research and development, inspections and licensing, said Quebracho owner Belen Rodriguez. After a tumultuous 2020 "taking turn after turn to make sure we could survive as a business and put food on our table," reaching the retail goal is a victory for the small company, which, like many food businesses this year, has seen hard times. Holiday markets and catering gigs were all canceled.
"It's a big relief because we were very scared about how we were going to keep the business afloat this winter. Having this alternative channel is huge," Rodriguez said.
"It's also very emotional in a way for me," she added. The empanadas are based on her grandmother's recipes. This year was the first time in eight years that Rodriguez had planned to spend the holidays with her family in Argentina, "and then COVID disrupted everything," she said.
"Being able to get her empanadas to other people, and seeing how well they've been selling, has been very rewarding and has helped me cope a bit with how much I miss them."
Another grocery success story comes courtesy of Nordic Waffles, and Norwegian chef Stine Aasland.
Her frozen "All Day Breakfast" waffle, with egg, bacon and cheese, came to stores earlier this year, and has expanded to 140 locations across the Upper Midwest, including select Lunds & Byerlys, Cub Foods and Hy-Vee stores.
Now, Nordic Waffles has added a new sausage, egg and cheese variety to the freezer case.
"We saw immediate demand for the 'All Day Breakfast' waffle and knew our grocery strategy, originally scheduled for 2021, had to scale up quickly," said Jeremy Ely, CEO for Nordic Waffles. "As families continue to seek more flavorful meal solutions to enjoy at home, we moved quickly to ramp up production, reactivated furloughed staff, developed a new sandwich offering, refreshed our brand identity and packaging and worked closely with retailers to stage a full-scale grocery expansion."
Still want your waffle hot off the iron? The popular State Fair vendor also has a year-round shop at Rosedale's Potluck food hall (1595 Hwy. 36, Roseville, potluckmn.com).