Alarcons wave hola to building kitchens in rural Colombia


Photos courtesy of Natalia Alarcon; edited on Canva

In an effort to unite locals through the power of authentic home-cooked salsa while simultaneously fighting for underprivileged families in Colombia, the Alarcons started their esteemed small business: Hola Salsa. “We created Hola Salsa to spread the deliciousness of mom’s cooking while spreading some love along the way,” Esteban Alarcon said.

Amber Roldan, Editor in Chief

Passionate and proud of their heritage and roots in Colombia, the Alarcon family embraces their lineage as they aim to foster change in the disadvantaged country. In an effort to turn this dream into reality, the outgoing family of four decided to kindle their love of cooking into a nonprofit salsa business: Hola Salsa. All profits earned from the endeavor fund the construction of kitchens in low-income homes in Colombia. 

“Each jar helps fund this mission. It won’t change the world, but it will help fill some bellies, support a few families, and spread a little love,” Eastabon Alarcon said. 

The Kennesaw and NC community embraced the small business with support and approval. Marketed at merely $8.50 a jar, each container of salsa achieves perfection with the juxtaposition of 6 simple ingredients: avocado, onion, habanero, cilantro, lime, and salt. The affordable price and delicious taste intertwined in each jar leaves customers craving more. In under 2 months since Hola Salsa’s debut, the Alarcon family produced and sold over five hundred jars of salsa. The copious amount of salsa purchased and enjoyably consumed by loyal customers allowed Hola Salsa to fund their first installation of a stainless steel kitchen counter and sink in a rural Colombian home.

Americans often take the ubiquity and accessibility of in-home kitchens for granted. In rural Colombia, kitchen accessibility constitutes a rare and arduous undertaking. Colombia’s lack of kitchen attainability poses a multitude of challenges. Many Colombian families earn their living by selling food in local markets. This career becomes impossible without the convenience of an in-home kitchen. The COVID-19 pandemic increased the unemployment rate in Colombia by 5.48%. This overwhelming statistic undeniably strengthened Colombian families’ reliance on kitchens to cook and sell food in hopes of earning a profit.

“Hola Salsa transforms Colombian kitchens by installing running water. The water makes a huge difference. It saves families so much time and energy because they no longer have to make the trip to a local creek or river to access water,” Lorenzo Alarcon said.

Contained in a translucent glass jar with a nutrition label sticker wrapping around the base, the Alarcons seal each salsa jar with a plastic heat wrap. This sleek finish boasts sanitary measures to ward off the magnitude surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The minimalist appearance of each jar perfectly contrasts with the beloved complex taste of Hola Salsa.

Customers can try Alarcon’s delectable Avocado Lime Salsa by placing an order on their website. Currently fine-tuning their shipping system, Hola Salsa offers both store pick up and hand delivery. NC students eager to try a jar of salsa can contact or meet Lorenzo Alarcon after school to purchase one of the numerous jars that he keeps on hand.

Hola Salsa’s mission to alleviate poverty in Colombia just began; they plan to expand their brand by adding another salsa recipe to their menu. Customers can expect a second salsa flavor to join the classic Avocado Lime Salsa by Christmas. Fulfilled with the success of their young business, the Alarcons look forward to growing their business and inspiring change throughout Colombia.

“We welcome you to our kitchen through each jar of salsa, greeting you with a warm and friendly hola,” Esteban Alarcon said.