Entertainment

La Familia Hard Ciders Is Giving Our Favorite Agua Fresca Flavors A Boozy Twist

Growing up in a Mexican or Mexican-American family, you probably tasted the sweetness of jamaica in an agua fresca. You’ve also experienced the salty notes of tamarindo when you wanted to have a refreshing drink. Now those nostalgic flavors of your childhood are growing up with the help of La Familia Hard Cider.

Family-owned La Familia is giving people a delicious and boozy taste of our favorite agua fresca flavors.

Photo courtesy of La Familia

La Familia bills itself as the first jamaica and tamarindo ciders in Oregon, and was named the first Latino-owned cider company in Oregon by several cider and craft brewery outlets in Oregon. It might even be one of the only Latino-owned cider producers in the country!

The Oregon-based company is a craft cider brewery started by Mexican-Americans Jose Gonzalez and his wife Shani, along with his two children, JJ, 24, and Jazelle, 22.

Photo courtesy of La Familia

A couple of years ago, after joining his wife on a mini tour of some taquerias, a thought popped into Gonzalez’s head and started brewing. Jose thought up the novel idea of bringing agua frescas into the craft brewery scene.

“[I told my wife], wouldn’t it be great if someone offered ciders with agua fresca,” Jose says.

“We never made a hard cider and believed we could,” he says of how his business idea started to take shape.

Jose was serious about making his agua fresca cider company and sought out the expertise of one of Oregon’s top cider makers to turn his mother’s agua fresca recipes into a bubbly brew.

Once the recipe was perfected, it came to settling on a name for the company, and the family looks inward to their family roots and recipes.

The company officially launched on Cinco de Mayo weekend in 2017 and recently celebrated its two-year anniversary by launching its ciders in a new 12-oz can.

“When La Familia came out, we kept thinking about our family, how we’re doing it for family—let’s just call it ‘la familia.’ The name comes with lots of responsibility,” Jazelle says.

The flavors of ciders the company makes include jamaica, tamarindo, manzana, and their seasonal best seller—guayaba. La Familia’s jamaica cider has won two medals in cider competitions so far.

Each family member has favorite flavor: Jazelle’s is tamarindo, JJ’s is jamaica, and Jose loves the guayaba flavor.

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Jose prides himself on using natural ingredients to make all the ciders. He says the recipes include fresh 100 percent apple juice, along with hibiscus leaves for the jamaica cider, tamarind paste for the tamarindo flavor and fresh guava for the guayaba seasonal cider. He says the hardest part at first was getting all the ingredients to Oregon.

“The first challenge was finding the ingredients bc they weren’t commercially available locally. All [the ingredients] come from Mexico, and we found a distributor in California,” Jose says.

Jose adds that the ciders contain no artificial flavors, just some “cane sugar to balance it out a little bit.”

Jose is currently working on opening a tap room in Salem, Oregon and getting more distributors to stock his family’s ciders across the state. La Familia also wants to start distributing and create a tap room in California.

“We want to introduce new flavors—every agua fresca that makes sense with cider,” he says.

“Our goal is to be the Corona of the hard cider world, and grow as big as we can,” he adds.

Besides being the Corona of ciders, La Familia also wants to make an impact in the Latino community of Oregon.

Since its inception, the company has donated to local immigration advocacy groups. In 2017, the company donated to Causa Salem, which was helping DACA youth at the time. In 2018, the company made a donation to Innovation Law Lab, Portland, a nonprofit immigration legal services organization.

A Latino-owned company helping its local community one cider bottle at a time. That’s something to raise our glass to—cheers!

READ: U.S. Beer Consumption Has Forced People In Mexicali To Fight Against A Major Brewery From Threatening Their Water Supply

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Volunteer Firefighters From Mexico Went to Oregon to Help Their “Sister City” Contain the Unprecedented Fires

Things That Matter

Volunteer Firefighters From Mexico Went to Oregon to Help Their “Sister City” Contain the Unprecedented Fires

Just when you thought humanity has failed us, someone steps up and shows the world that the generosity of the human spirit is alive and well. 

Last week, a post on Reddit went viral of a group of volunteer firefighters from Guanajuato, Mexico who traveled to the city of Ashland, Oregon to help fight the wildfires that are blazing across the western state.

The fire department is called Heroico Cuerpo de Bomberos Voluntarios, the Heroic Volunteer Fire Department, in English.

The two towns have had a “sister city” relationship for over 50 years. Sister-city relationships are meant to “promote peace and understanding through exchanges that focus on arts and culture, youth and education, business and trade, and community development”.

The internet swiftly erupted into comments praising the volunteer firefighters for their bravery and comradery. “Mexico also sent relief during Katrina. Mexico and Canada are our best allies, always there for us regardless of the politics,” one commenter said. Another chimed in: “Welcome to Oregon, amigos. Mantenga una bota en el quemado.”

The troop of men who traveled from Mexico to the United States were identified as Captain Aldo Iván Ruiz, Captain Juan Armando Alvarez Villegas, Sargent Jorge Luis Anguiano Jasso, Sargent Luis Alfonso Campos Martínez and Miguel Ángel Hernández Lara. They were accompanied by the mayor of Guanajuato, Alejandro Navarro.

“We began the relief work,” Navarro wrote on Twitter. “Very moved by the terrible impact of the fire on families and their homes.”

The Oregon wildfires are just one of the many that are blazing down the West Coast of the United States, taking people’s homes, land, and sometimes, their lives. In more than 1 million acres have burned and two dozen fires are still raging.

“Almost every year since becoming governor, I’ve witnessed historic fire seasons,” Oregon Governor Kate Brown recently said at a press conference. “Yet this is proving to be an unprecedented and significant fire event for our state.”

Experts are hypothesizing that these unprecedented fires are further evidence of the toll man-made climate change is having on the environment. 

via Getty Images

“I can’t think of any time over the last 100 years where we’ve had serial fire outbreaks, four years running,” said fire historian Stephen Pyne to the Washington Post. “That I can find no record of happening before,” he added. “That is the big switch; that is the phase change.”

Regardless of what has caused the fires, the bravery of these firefighters is worth commendable. Their actions are further proof that borders cannot contain the universal values of kindness, altruism, and brotherhood.

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Young Boy In Los Angeles Turns Entrepreneur To Help Mother During Ongoing Pandemic

Culture

Young Boy In Los Angeles Turns Entrepreneur To Help Mother During Ongoing Pandemic

aaronsgarden / Instagram

Covid-19 has forced families to figure out the best way to make enough to take care of things. Some have had to find new jobs after being laid off and having to make up enough to save their families. A young boy in Los Angeles is doing that to help his mom makes ends meet.

Meet Aaron and his garden.

The young boy and his mother were on their last $12 when he had an idea of creating a business. According to a GoFundMe account, the young boy convinced his undocumented mother to start a business selling plants to help them make it through the pandemic.

Aaron’s Garden was the business he and his mom created to make some money.

“Aaron and mom have been struggling from being homeless to shelters and bouncing from house to house and now live in a shed,” reads a GoFundMe account. “He came out with the idea of selling plants and starting a business in his yard to be a provider and buy his own hot Cheetos with cheese without having to ask his mom for money.”

Aaron advertises his plants and when you can buy them on his Instagram.

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Sensitive plant available limited supplies

A post shared by Aaron M. (@aaronsgarden) on

The LA entrepreneur is creating a lot of buzz with people celebrating his efforts. People in the U.S. are struggling as the additional $600 in unemployment has disappeared and a second Covid-19 stimulus is stuck in Congress. Aaron’s plant selling is helping his family during one of the most difficult times in modern U.S. history.

Way to go, Aaron.

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We love puppies

A post shared by Aaron M. (@aaronsgarden) on

We are all so proud to see you doing your best to make it through this time. Check his Instagram to see what he has and when and where he is selling the plants. Keep going, mijo!

READ: These Female Entrepreneurs Want You To Wear A Wig That Is Snatched

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