These North Texans took their salsas from the McKinney Farmers Market to the shelves at H-E-B

A homegrown McKinney company has been awarded the 2020 H-E-B Supplier Diversity Supplier of the Year Award by the grocery chain, for going above and beyond supporting H-E-B supplier efforts to “in driving spend with Minority Business Enterprise, Women Business Enterprise, and Veteran or Disabled Business Owners,” according to a news release.

McKinney natives David and Michele Bernard launched Bernard’s Gourmet Foods in 2016 but didn’t expect to be earning awards for their partnership with a regional grocery chain just four years later.

“We started our company in order to sell David’s gourmet roasted cooking salsas at our local McKinney Farmers Market at Chestnut Square, within walking distance of our home,” Michele Bernard said in a news release.

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The jump to a popular product line sold at H-E-B came quickly. Michele entered three of the company’s “cooking salsas” — meant to be more than simply something to dip a chip in — into the regional grocery giant’s 2018 Quest For Texas Best Contest. All three were included as finalists and became H-E-B Primo Picks.

Though the state is only now getting a taste of the salsas, the company says David’s history toying with the best salsa blends stretches back to 1986. That’s when he bought a hand-crank food processor at the State Fair’s food pavilion and started to make sauces he would take to work and share with co-workers on breaks.

Since then, salsa has been a passion that eventually grew into a business. David praised H-E-B’s programs that have allowed the company to get ideas from other grocery suppliers in the state and pass on some of what they have learned as well.

“Through the H-E-B Diversity Supplier community and the Quest for Texas Best opportunity, we’ve been so fortunate to be able to learn from some of the very best small business owners in Texas,” David said in a news release. “We’ve also been allowed the opportunity to mentor and help other small business owners as well.”

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They were awarded the diversity supplier award at a virtual event for suppliers that took place Monday.

“Nothing makes us feel better than sharing our table,” Michele said.

For North Texas residents who do not live near an H-E-B or its sister Central Market, Bernard’s salsas also are available for purchase online.

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