Rosa’s Tamales: Authentic Flavors in Jackson

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tamales
The People’s and farmers markets are in full swing this summer. If you haven’t stopped by, you need to block off a Wednesday evening and a Saturday morning to see what the buzz is all about. There is such a pleasant mix of local and nearby vendors selling the latest, freshest, tastiest, craftiest goods. Some are veterans and some are rookies.

One of the newest products to hit the stands this summer season is Rosa’s Tamales. Yes, you may have heard of the name before and have probably tasted one, but now you can find Juan Morales, owner of Morales Homemade, selling these authentic treats at the market, too.

Born and raised in Guanajuato, Mexico, Juan’s mother, Rosa, has been making tamales, a secret family recipe, for Juan’s entire life. Rosa and her husband eventually moved to Jackson 16 years ago, where they raised Juan. He said it was normal growing up in a house where there was always delicious food.

Rosa has been making and selling her tamales in Jackson for a few years. The family wanted to try and sell them for people in Jackson to get a taste of authentic Mexico. So, they started selling them in small orders to the community. After a spike in business in late January, Juan got the idea to start a business.

“We had such a great response to my mother’s tamales and want nothing more than to please the people in this small town,” Juan said.

Acknowledging that starting a business isn’t the easiest thing to do, he tested the community’s response by passing around business cards adorned with advertising. Orders came flying in. They even started delivering tamale orders just to make the people of Jackson happy.

Lots of hardwork and paperwork turned into Morales Homemade, LLC.

And what better way to get your goods, made by the people, to the people, than to sell them at local markets. This summer marks their first market season, and according to Juan, it’s been an absolute hit; they sold out in just an hour and a half of the market’s opening. That means they sold around 400 tamales by 9:15 in the morning. Now, that is impressive.

The tamales can be sold in singles, or in larger orders by the dozen, which is the most often way people purchase them. Each tamale is $2, so a dozen is $24. Each batch that Rosa makes is five dozen, so there are extras quite often, which means when ordering in bulk, you’ll get a few extra tamales thrown in there, for the price of a dozen.

There are three traditional types of tamales, ones that Juan said can be found at any traditional Mexican celebration: red, green, and rajas. In more detail, the first type of tamale is made with pork and a red sauce. This one is very flavorful and savory. The second one is made with chicken and a green jalapeño-tomatillo sauce, which packs a punch. The third is referred to as “rajas,” meaning sliced. This tamale contains no meat, but has slices of jalapeños and cheese. Per order, the customer can pick whatever type of cheese he or she wants for the rajas tamale.

If you’d like to treat your sweet tooth after a savory snack of these tamales, Rosa also makes a dessert tamale containing sugar, raisins, pineapple chunks and coconut shavings (the combinations vary). Juan said these are a big hit with the kids, especially around Christmas, because they can be died different colors; red, blue or green.

Juan and his mother realize the demand for fresh tamales, and they just want to cater to their audience, and make them happy. Make sure to look for them every Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m. at the People’s Market, and every Saturday from 8 to noon at the JH Farmers Market on the Town Square .

As always, support local, and most importantly, happy eating!

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Born and raised in south Georgia, Casey moved to Colorado after graduating college and has now settled in Jackson, where she loves to snowboard, hike and water-ski. She's a true southern food junkie, but loves every type of food (there's nothing she won't eat) and will try anything once. A lifelong love of food combined with a Journalism degree made her realize she could combine her two passions which led her to the position of Editorial Assistant. She loves hot sauce and anything pickled, and you'll always find her on the hunt for the perfect Bloody Mary.

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