Quebracho produces scratch-made empanadas, among other Argentinian staples, using ingredients sourced locally whenever possible. Owner Belen Rodriguez began Quebracho in 2018 to share the experience of family Sundays by selling their food at local farmer’s markets and various pop-up events. Growing up in the Argentine Pampas, Sundays were spent with friends and family, gathering over food in a laid-back environment. Quebracho’s empanadas can be found in the freezer aisles at both Seward Co-op stores.
Impacts of the Pandemic and Quebracho
By the time COVID-19 reached Minnesota, Quebracho had already been selling their products at farmer’s markets and pop-ups for a couple of years. Like many small-scale Community Foods producers, the pandemic presented Quebracho a new set of challenges when it came to running a food business. In order to be resilient, they had to adapt and shift the way in which they get their product to market safely, and in a financially sustainable way. The decision to shift production to frozen empanadas was made in response to the pandemic. This change to their business model has offered an opportunity for Quebracho to expand their business and grow their sales volume. Belen from Quebracho shared with co-op staff how the idea of selling empanadas frozen came about:
“My husband and I, at the time, found that we already were freezing our empanadas because we were so busy with the business and still had our full-time jobs apart from Quebracho. Our empanadas were a really good item for weekly meals…That’s when we realized that we may have stumbled upon something here.”
Many can relate to having a go-to-meal for busy weeknights, for Belen and her husband this experience offered an opportunity for Quebracho to expand.
In the midst of launching an online store and new frozen empanada line, co-op staff approached Belen to sell empanadas in Seward Co-op’s freezer aisles. Belen had this to say about Quebracho’s relationship with Seward Co-op, “It felt very good to know that somebody had our back during this pandemic…This couldn’t have happened at a better time.” Quebracho also had the opportunity to market their empanadas in other co-ops and retailers in the Twin Cities. Many co-op shoppers have had the opportunity to try the vegetarian empanadas with spinach, ricotta cheese, garlic and nutmeg. Belen shared that is has been rewarding to see messages from co-op shoppers enjoying their empanadas.
Co-op Staff Recipe – Chimichurri with Quebracho Spinach Ricotta Empanadas
Watch as co-op staff demonstrates this chimichurri recipe to accompany spinach ricotta empanadas from Quebracho.