U.P. made salsa now in local stores

The Upper Peninsula is about to learn a lot more about a fellow known in some parts as “Crazy Joe.”

It’s a nickname the residents of small-town Tapiola already associate with the creator of the area’s new and amazing food sensation, Crazy Joe’s Cucumber Salsa. And that, folks, is just the beginning.

At a quaint country store near Houghton, Crazy Joe has sliced and diced his own sweet and spicy salsa. Using garden-fresh vegetables from local farmers and a secret blend of spices, Crazy Joe created not only one, but two varieties.

Crazy Joe’s Cucumber and Tomato Salsas have hit refrigerated sections of more than a dozen major grocery stores from L’Anse to Calumet. Salsa lovers can opt for two heat levels — mild or spicy.  The  salsa is fresh and free of preservatives and are 100-percent gluten-free.

“We always knew it would go this far,” Crazy Joe said. “No other company in the United States sells fresh cucumber salsa.”

From humble beginnings in Tapiola to tabletops across the U.P., Crazy Joe’s is here to stay. And that’s exactly what Crazy Joe’s son, Damien Waara envisioned. “People were driving long distances just to come and buy our salsa,” Damien said. “We were going through 150 pounds of each kind of salsa a week. For a small country store, that says a lot.”

It’s been a fun and flavorful labor of love for Damien and his wife Katie, who help run the business from their home in L’Anse. Production of Crazy Joe’s Salsas & Dips is done at the Baraga American Legion Post 444.

“It’s taken a lot of thought and hard work, but it’s a fun product to stand behind,” Katie said. “Not only that, we get to spend a lot of time with customers, getting their feedback and developing additional products. Joe’s recipes are so well-known. He does amazing things with food. He just adds this whole other aspect with salsa — it’s crazy and it’s Joe. So that’s what we went with.”

Crazy Joe’s Salsas can be found at Pats Foods & Festival Foods, Econo Foods, Keweenaw Co-op, Jim’s Foodmart, Louie’s Super Foods, Larry’s Market, Pines Convenience Center, Dick’s Pump & Munch, and Baraga BP.

For more information about Crazy Joe’s Salsa, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/crazyjoessalsa