Not the words that spring to mind when someone says “salsa,” so when Traverse Bay Farms offered to send me a sample pack of their salsas, I had some reservations. (Okay, my hesitation lasted about 30 seconds, and then I was all WOO FREE FOOD about it.)
Traverse Bay sent along no less than SIX full-sized jars of salsa, one each of their different varieties. Although they’re all said to be “medium-hot,” I found the level of heat varied quite a bit from jar, which you’ll see in a minute.
So… is it good? Overall, yes. Each salsa was as good or better than a premium (read: non-Tostitos) shelf-stable salsa, although I liked some mush more than others.
Here’s my official ranking of the six different salsas:
#1: Pineapple. I was the most uncertain about this one, but I assure you, this was possibly the best salsa I’ve ever eaten. Distinctly fiery and sweet and tart, without one overwhelming the others — like the greatest sweet-and-sour Chinese food goo on earth, but even better by making it spicy. It was the first one to get polished off and the one I missed the most once it was gone. If you’re only going to try one of these salsas, the pineapple one should be it.
#2: Cherry. I really had my doubts about cherry salsa, but Traverse Bay won me over. Cherry anything can often be sickly sweet (or worse, cough medicine-ish) but this was only slightly sweeter and less tart than the pineapple salsa, and probably as close to fresh cherries as a jarred salsa could get.
#3: Red Raspberry. Very hot and very sweet. It was honestly a little too much on its own, but I after combined most of the jar with an 8-ounce block of cream cheese, it became an absolutely incredible spread for crackers (or celery or, um, a spoon).
#4: Peach. I admit, I’ve never been a fan of peach salsa. My husband really liked this one, but it was just too… peachy for me. I think it would have paired really well with pork, but someone finished off the jar before I could find out.
#5: Corn. Much milder than I expected, the least spicy of the six, so a bit more like a corn relish than a salsa. The corn was was crisp and sweet but had a little of that odd canned corn taste going on. Not bad, but not my favorite either.
#6: Black Bean. I dunno, this one just didn’t really do it for me. Maybe it was because the others were so great, but the black bean one was a bit bland and only kind of better than a store brand.
Traverse Bay Farms Salsas (as well as a variety of other cherry- and fruit-based products) can be purchased through their site or through other online retailers.