Although it may seem ironic, a universal phenomenon is that people are local at heart. Speaking for myself, I can definitely vouch for this. Where I’ll think “That’s nice!” when something good happens to another country, America winning gets me shouting “USA! USA!”
Taken a step further, I really get pumped when something puts Lubbock on the map. A few years ago, when our all-stars were in the Little League World Series, I was pretty keyed up and I don’t even like baseball! If you feel like I do, there is a savvy way you can support the home team at the store. With a wide array of retail products that are manufactured in West Texas, you can take buying local to another level:
■ Hot sauce — Back in the 1980s, there was a commercial for Pace Picante Sauce where a bunch of cowboys sat around a campfire comparing brands. Where Pace was made in Texas, the other brand being produced in New York City justifiably outraged them and caused one of them to say “Get a rope!” Although it was tongue in cheek, I think we can all sympathize. With all the hot sauce brands that are based around Lubbock, we can further elevate our pride in place! At most stores, you can buy Leal’s Salsa (http://www.lealsmexicanfoods.com/) from a company that started in Muleshoe and Kylito’s Salsa (http://www.kylitos.com/) that originated in Slaton. In addition, Santa Fe (http://santafefoods.net/index.htm) Hot Sauce comes from a Lubbock-based business. Also coming out of West Texas, I think Tascosa Hot Sauce (https://www.facebook.com/tascosayourtastebuds/) out of Amarillo is really good.
■ Blu-Stop Max — Made by Clavel (https://clavel.com/) in Abilene, the story behind this company is a textbook example of necessity being the mother of invention. After an accident that left a young man needing several surgeries, his father sought ways to hasten the recovery. From his research sprang a formula that worked exceptionally well at healing scar tissue. Since this remedy was so effective, the father looked for ways to share his discovery with others. From there, a company was founded to make this product (“ScarSof”) available to the general public. With further development, other items were formulated. In particular, one of Clavel’s most popular offerings is Blu-Stop pain relief lotion. I have tried it and it works. You can find this product at CVS, Wal-Mart and United.
■ Stephen Joseph — When I took my family to Mount Rushmore a few years ago, we bought a T-shirt along the way. Although we were in South Dakota at the time, I saw that the company that made it was based in Lubbock. Unwittingly, I traveled a long way to buy something homegrown! When I got back in town, I did a little more research and found out that Stephen Joseph manufactures and distributes a wide array of products (https://stephenjosephgifts.com/Products/categories) across the nation. Although they only produce the T-shirts here, they employ a lot of locals and offer exceptional products that you can buy retail (https://stephenjosephgifts.com/company/find-a-store) or online (https://stephenjosephgifts.com/).
■ Lil’ Dutch Maid — When Nabisco recently announced that it would stop making Oreos in our country, my first thought was how un-American it was to outsource this quintessentially American icon. My second thought was how to get my cookies elsewhere. Fortunately, when a door closes, a window opens. Although you wouldn’t know it from the name, Lil’ Dutch Made (http://www.abimarfoods.com/) Cookies are made in the USA. Even better, the ones you can buy in Lubbock come from Abilene. On top of desserts, this brand offers a wide variety of baked products.
■ Prater’s — Since 1955, Prater’s Foods (https://www.unitedtexas.com/our-company/praters) has made quality meals and established itself as a household name in this area. With Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner around the corner, this brand offers one more way of bringing things close to home.
■ Tortillas — There is a plethora of locally made tortillas available at the grocery store. In addition, many brands that may not look local are often subcontracted to area producers. As there are so many, I shy away from highlighting them all because I know I will be doing an injustice by leaving someone out. However, I can point to Casa Rica (http://casarica.com/) out of Plainview as an innovative and quality provider of Casa Rica and Ramirez & Son brand tortillas.
In addition to the above, Pedro’s Tamales are always excellent “go to” food at this time (or any time) of year. Although I have probably left some stones unturned, I thought I would get the ball rolling by mentioning just a few.
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SEAN FIELDS is the A-J’s Savvy Shopper. Read his columns Sundays and Wednesdays. Email him at SavvyShopperLubbock@gmail.com, like his Facebook page at Facebook.com/LubbockSavvyShopper, or see previous columns and deals at lubbockonline.com/savvy-shopper.