Elotes Cora and Cañon del Diablo

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With the second round of our Small Business Incubation classes coming to an end, we want to introduce you to two of our Taller de Permiso emprendedores, Idelfonso Ortiz and Judith Antonio.

When you sit down with Ildefonso, he has no limit to the stories he shares. Idelfonso is from Victoria, Texas, and is passionate about producing carbon in his small plot of land in Victoria, Mexico, historically called el Cañón del Diablo. He was a part of our second Business Incubation class offered in Buena Vida.

He uses a traditional technique of cutting the longer trees to help the shorter ones grow. He says there are many benefits from producing carbon in this sustainable way, you help the forest flourish and stay within a healthy cycle of rejuvenation, and you avoid consuming meat that has been prepared with carbon that is loaded with chemicals.

In our region, carne asadas are a family tradition that happen year round. Outdoor grill fires keep us warm and huddled together in the winter, and outdoor cooking in the evening helps us escape the burning summer heat, and we pack the rest of the weeks meals in the fridge. Idelfonso sees the use of his carbon as better for the environment and better for the health of our communities. He also plans to sell activated carbon in powder form for use in water filtration. Because his product was very particular to his hometown, and the process prioritizes sustaining the natural environment, Idelfonso named his product after the name of the region “Cañon del Diablo”.

Judith is involved with local farming and community garden projects. She’s vocal, driven, has a warm personality, and is always looking for different ways to be engaged in the community. She hopes to vend at the Brownsville Farmer’s Market and is looking to develop her traditional Mexican Elote recipe. Like many in our community, Judith comes from a family with a strong food tradition, which she hopes to share with her own children, including her 1 year old baby who attends Taller de Permiso classes and recently started walking.

For Judith, the elote is a very important staple of culinary Mexican tradition. In the Rio Grande Valley and in many parts of Mexico, the elote sold on the street as corn on the cob or in a cup is a treat to our soul,  an exciting part of the day, and a warm exchange with the vender. In all, elote satisfies a craving that hits our roots, strengthens our connection to each other, and provides a living for many.

Judith values, celebrates, and continues the legacy of this tradition through her vending and her dream of bringing this to the farmer’s market. Judith will soon start experimenting with a vegan mayo recipe for her elotes, offering it as an alternative option, to those who have food restrictions.  

In the coming months Idelfonso and Judith, along with their cohort of emprendedores, will partner with local artists to develop their logo designs, and will begin taking the necessary steps to launch their small businesses. Be sure to visit our social media pages and our Taller de Permiso blog to follow their stories.

Nansi Guevara