The folks at Ferndale's Garden Fresh Gourmet have been busy during the past year turning tomatoes into dollars.
The 15-year-old salsa company is set to claim record revenue of $110 million in 2012, according to a report from MLive. President and Vice Chairman Dave Zilko revealed the company's success at a panel of Michigan entrepreneurs on the first day of this week's Mackinac Policy Conference, an annual event put on by the Detroit Regional Chamber that brings officials, business leaders and others together to talk about the state's future.
The company, which remains committed to using natural ingredients and sustainable practices, started small -- founders Jack and Annette Aronson made batches of salsa out of their now-closed restaurant in Ferndale. They've since grown, and the brand now makes the country's best-selling fresh salsa, as well as chips, hummus and dips.
Garden Fresh Gourmet is sold at national retailers like Costco and Kroger, and the company will get another break next spring when its products will be sold at Whole Foods Market when it opens in Midtown Detroit next year, alongside wares from other local food retailers, like Avalon International Breads.
According to MLive, the company employs about 425 people at five locations throughout the state.
In the Detroit area, food entrepreneurs are coming out of the woodwork with ventures of various scopes, like the El Guapo Grill duo, who are helping to spark Detroit's recent food truck craze, and small jam company Beau Bien Fine Foods. Also, Livonia-based Just Baked recently opened a new franchise in downtown Detroit, the company's 12th cupcake shop in southeast Michigan.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misidentified Garden Fresh Gourmet's projected revenue as projected profits.