If you’ve taken the time to walk the farmer’s market on campus each week, then it’s likely you’ve seen the “Mouth of the South” salsa booth and you’ve heard Antonio McGowan yell, “Home of the Salsa Shot!”
This family owned business has spent two years selling their salsa at various farmer’s markets and specialty stores, like Rincon Market in Tucson. The McGowan’s salsa recipe began with Andrea McGowan, otherwise known as the Salsa Diva, and her Nany Mary.
The Salsa Diva relies heavily on her family for their support, her husband McGowan, aka the Salsa Don, her two sons: Jaden and Peyton, the salsa prince’s sacrifice their weekends to sell the salsa at farmer’s markets around town.
“Over time, we have added little pieces of our own flavor and style to create what is now Mouth of the South,” Mrs. McGowan said. “We started making this salsa for our co-workers, friends and family, and eventually they ate so much of it that they felt bad and started paying us for their jars.”
After a few years of researching the market, the McGowan’s quit their jobs and put all their time into growing Mouth of the South. They now have four main salsas and just launched three more.
“We ask our customers ‘How do you like your mouth? LAME, TAME, FLAME or INSANE?’” McGowan said. “We also are proud to announce that on St. Patrick’s day 2016 we launched our new BOCA VERDE line of green salsa’s that comes in two heat levels, the BOCA SUAVE (mild) or the BOCA LOCA (hot).”
Mouth of the South’s has won several salsa competitions over the past two years including, The People Choice Award at the La Encantada Salsa and Tequila Challenge and both first and second at the My Nana’s Best Tasting Salsa Competition in Phoenix.
They also created their own salsa competition called Salsa Con this year alongside the owner of Local E Magazine and another salsa company founder. Salsa Con is a competition for amateur salsa makers, its first successful competition was this February and they hope to grow it each year.
When Mrs. McGowan was asked what her favorite food to use the salsa on, she said “TACOS of course!” But also mentioned that Mouth of the South recently partnered with the owner of MadBatter Bakery to bring a “Madmouth Salsa” bagel.
“This is a mouth watering freshly baked bagel made with either our TAME OR INSANE salsa and let me tell you it is a party in your mouth!” she said.
This innovative family business has kept the farmer’s markets of Tucson fun and friendly for everyone there. Next time you find yourself at the farmer’s market or street fair, try a salsa shot and let your mouth taste the savory flavors of the south.