Tag Archives: Watsonville

El Pajaro CDC Celebrates 40th anniversary with Tacos & Tapas Fundraising party in Watsonville on Oct. 25

Sponsorships Now Available Event Expands to Three Food Trucks and 22 Food Partners

Watsonville, CA, September 10, 2019 – To celebrate 40 years of helping local entrepreneurs reach their small business dreams, El Pajaro Community Development Corporation is throwing its second Tacos & Tapas fundraising party on Oct. 25 in Watsonville.

The 40th anniversary celebration will be held from 6-9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, at El Pajaro CDC’s Kitchen Incubator located at 412 East Riverside Drive in Watsonville.

The food-and-drink party will feature 22 food purveyors, all Kitchen Incubator entrepreneurs, including for the first time three food trucks. Purveyors will serve a variety of different regional foods, including tacos, tamales, tapas, sushi, pizza, sausages, pies and tarts, and more. Margaritas and sangria will be offered, in addition to wine and beer.

“It’s a celebration of a very strong legacy of passion for helping the community by supporting entrepreneurship,” said Carmen Herrera-Mansir, executive director of El Pajaro CDC. “We’re grateful for everyone who has played a role in helping us grow during the past four decades.”

A recently updated list of food partners (along with their menus) include:

• Artisan Hand Foods. Handmade sausage (Cumberland sausage, classic and spicy) wrapped in puff pastry. Three pastry snacks — chicken leek, lamb curry and spinach, artichoke and mushroom.

• Borinken Goodies. Traditional Puerto Rican food: Tostones con cerdo (fried plantains topped with roasted pork, avocado aioli and fresh tomatoes); majado de viandas con bacalao (mashed root vegetables with codfish; coquito (traditional drink with coconut milk).

• Cuevas Express Foods. Tamales, chicken in green sauce, pork in red sauce and veggies with jalapeños and cheese, all topped with cheese, sour cream and salsa, and a side of veggie stew.

• Dos Hermanos Pupuseria (food truck). Pupusas: bean and cheese; bean, cheese and pork; and vegetarian (spinach, zucchini and cheese).

• Easypreps. Chicken Thai noodles with peanut sauce, carrots and black sesame seeds; ceviche cocktail, lemon juice, tomatoes, onions and cilantro, garnished with fresh cucumber.

• El Nopalito Produce. Caprese skewers with grilled nopales, tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese, drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper.

• Fired up (food truck). Pizzas, baked in a wood-fired oven — margherita, parzola, and chicken with chipotle pesto.

• Hakouya. Sushi roll with cucumber, avocado and imitation crab; tofu pockets stuffed with sushi rice, egg, snow peas and pickled ginger; each served with soy sauce and miso dressing.

• Hiccuping Dragon. Bite-sized, kid-friendly hot dogs: Cheesy Bavarian, Polish dog, all-beef hot dogs with toppings.

• Il Biscotto. Handmade Italian cannoli filled with sweet orange-ricotta cheese.

• Mary’s Fruit Tarts. Fresh, homemade crust filled with cream cheese and fresh, seasonal fruit.

• My Mom’s Mole. Tacos, handmade blue-corn tortillas with roasted veggies or chicken and mole sauce, verde or traditional.

• Percy’s Pies. Gourmet Louisiana-style sweet potato pies — original, ginger snap, coffee liqueur and praline.

• Ronda Paella y Tapas. Offering the real flavor of Spain: Paella mixta (seafood, chicken, pork and Spanish chorizo), tortilla Española (Spanish omelette), fried tapas (ham croquettes, stuffed mussel shell) and Pisto (Spanish ratatouille).

• Rooster Ridge Farm. Locally grown, cured olives served with cheese.

• Splendid Blended. Wholesome ingredients mixed to create the perfect blend; dark chocolate spice and cinnamon banana flavors.

• Sunvalley Farm. Cactus and kale salad with tomatoes, jalapeños, cilantro with a lemon juice vinaigrette.

• That Garlic Stuff. Beef meatballs with red sauce, Parmesan cheese, drizzled with “that garlic stuff.”

• The Ballesteros Catering Co. Tacos al pastor with chorizo and deep-fried, beer-battered mushrooms with the fixings.

• The Green Waffle. New grain-free, coconut-chia waffle, toasted and topped with fresh, local, seasonal berries. All other varieties available for sale during the event.

• Unique Sweets. Strawberry shortcake drizzled with chocolate-raspberry flavored balsamic vinegar.

• Yoli’s Adobo. Beef and chicken tacos marinated on Yoli’s adobo sauce and vegetarian green pozole.

Sponsors of the event include: Santa Cruz County Bank, Santa Cruz Community Credit Union, Salud Para La Gente,Union Bank, Bernardus, Scheid Vineyards, Apple City Cider, Kong’s Burger & Café, Elkhorn Slough Brewery, Mechanics Bank (formerly Rabobank).

El Pajaro CDC is proud to welcome Edible Monterey Bay as its Media Sponsor.

Tickets are $65 per person through Sept. 30. Tickets will be the full price of $75 during October leading up to the event and, if available, at the door for $75. Sponsorship opportunities to help cover the cost of the event are also available.

Ticket price includes:

Admission plus 5 Tickets for food and or drinks.

Additional food/drink tickets can be acquired at the event.

Tickets are available at https://tacosandtapas2019.eventbrite.com

Stay tuned for details on our special auction! Details announced in October!

About Pajaro CDC

In 1979, El Pájaro CDC was formed following widespread community support of under-represented Latino and Spanish-speaking business owners in Watsonville. For 40 years El Pajaro has helped budding entrepreneurs throughout the Central Coast by offering technical, legal, financial and managerial assistance.

“If you give someone an opportunity it can change lives, and lead to generations of success,” said Carmen Hererra-Mansir, executive director of El Pajaro CDC. “To see a journey from farmworker to entrepreneur — many started that way when they came to us — is so rewarding.”

El Pájaro CDC offers a wide range of assistance, including low-cost and often free bilingual business education and training workshops to low-income entrepreneurs. Workshops cover business plan preparation, marketing and sales, customer service, bookkeeping, computer basics, business management, and financial literacy.

In 1997, El Pajaro Plaza Vigil a retail business incubator at 23 Beach St. in downtown Watsonville was created to assist low- to moderate-income, Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs with starting and operating a successful business.

Plaza Vigil houses dozens of businesses, with another 44 food purveyors using the separate Commercial Kitchen Incubator Program, a fully equipped, shared-use facility at 412 Riverside Drive.

Following a charter expansion in 2007, El Pájaro CDC serves Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties. Bilingual and bicultural services, business development services and training are available to anyone with plans to open or expand a small business in the region.


Marci Bracco Cain

Chatterbox PR

Salinas, CA 93901

(831) 747-7455


Watsonville Based Green Environment Landscape Does More Than Just Design Landscape and Plant Vegetation

One of one of the Few Green-Certified Landscapers in Central California that can virtually assure a savings of 40-50 percent on Water Consumption Using His Certified Green Landscaping Techniques

Watsonville, CA, August 03, 2015 – Francisco Cortes started his business with a passenger car and a shovel. Twenty-eight years later, he’s the owner/operator of a thriving green-certified landscape contracting business with nine full-time employees, Green Environment Landscape, Inc.

But Watsonville-based Green Environment Landscape does more than just design landscapes and plant vegetation. Cortes’ concept for the business is to incorporate the design and implementation of the entire outdoor landscape of a home or structure, from plants, lighting and waterscapes to patios, decks, stamped and stained concrete, irrigation, drainage and arbors. And do it while saving water and adhering to certified green landscaping techniques.

Green Environment Landscape is one of the few green-certified landscapers in Central California that can virtually assure a savings of 40-50 percent on water consumption. And to accomplish it without having to turn your green yard or garden into a parched desert landscape.

Cortes is able to accomplish this by using biosoils (which require less fertilizer and pesticides, thus reducing water use), innovative irrigation and drainage design, using more drought-resistant native plants, and incorporating various tried and true xeriscaping techniques such as zoning plants and mulching.

“People panic and they kill their plants. They don’t know how to manage their landscaping, so they let it die,” said Cortes about the strict water-tightening regulations imposed by the state during this severe drought. “But we can do a lot of things to save water. We can save at least 40 percent, even more. We just have to be more efficient.”

After starting out doing strictly residential landscaping projects, the last several years Cortes and his company have been busy on the commercial end of the business. But Cortes wants to return to his roots, so to speak, get involved in more residential projects and strike a balance between residential and commercial.

Cortes, 56, was born in the state of Jalisco, Mexico, where tequila originated, but moved to the U.S. when he was 18, to work in the fields around Oxnard, in Southern California.

A few years later he saw an opportunity to get our of the fields and work for himself.

“I started with a shovel and my first project was a yard cleanup,” says Cortes, laughing at the thought. “I didn’t even have a truck. All I had was a car!”

Thus was born Francisco Landscaping, which mostly focused on yard and garden cleanup, jobs that could be done by one person. Within two years he had his first employee and slightly bigger jobs came along, but the business struggled. Cortes, whose advertising consisted simply of handing out business cards, putting flyers on car windshields and advertising in the local shopper publication, knew he couldn’t take on the truly big jobs that could boost his business.

Bigger projects meant more employees, more paperwork, more management and more complex designs and implementing them, something Cortes was not prepared for at this stage in his career.

“If I got a lot of business I wouldn’t be able to manage it,” he says candidly. “So I decided to go to college — Cabrillo College (in Aptos, just south of Santa Cruz) — and saw that I had a lot to learn, so I took a lot of classes and attended a lot of seminars.”

But the hard work and long hours paid off. He was able to hire more employees, take on bigger projects and 10 years ago, expanded his offerings to include green landscaping, water-saving measures and what he calls “hardscapes,” the more rigid and permanent parts of a landscaping project.

“I like hardscaping, working on arbors, waterfalls, retaining walls, patios and working with lighting. It’s a challenge,” says Cortes, who also changed the name to better reflect what his business offered. He sees landscaping and hardscaping going hand in hand in the ultimate design and success of a project.

After spending half of his life in the landscaping industry, Cortes’ motto is simple, but highly effective: “Do the job right the first time. If the client still isn’t satisfied, make it right.” Rarely has he had to redo a project.

“If I do a job, there’s not going to be any callbacks,” Cortes says with a confidence built on 28 years of hard work and honesty. “If it’s not right, no excuses, I’ll take care of it. I will make sure the client is satisfied.”

There’s nothing more important in business to Cortes than gaining the trust of his client and doing quality work.

Address: 115 Paseo Dr, Watsonville, CA 95076
Phone:(408) 227-0808

“That’s one reason I’ve been in business so long — trust. They have trust in me,” says the plain-spoken Cortes. “Everyone wants to be successful, but the most important thing in being successful is quality. If you always do quality work, you’ll never go out of business.”

Marci Bracco
Chatterbox Public Relations
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455