Coco’s Tamales is much more than a business for Socorro Contreras—it’s a callback to cherished family traditions passed down from one generation to the next. Socorro remembers that when she a girl, making tamales was a “one-day deal” every year around the holidays.
“It’s a third-generation recipe that has been passed on,” she said. “On Christmas we’d be drinking our margaritas, singing holiday songs and making tamales.”
Socorro knew that the foundation of her traditional, third-generation tamale recipe was too good not to share. So, after making a few tweaks, she created Coco’s Tamales and began selling at special events and farmers markets almost a decade ago.
By partnering with Market Wagon, for the first time, Socorro can sell her authentic handmade tamales 52 weeks a year. It’s quickly proven to be a great way to bring in steady income throughout the winter.
“I’m getting older, and it takes a lot out of you when you’re out driving so much in the heat of the summer or the snowy winter months,” Socorro said. “Market Wagon does all the work of delivering for me. I’ve been able to bring over my previous clients to Market Wagon, and it’s been great. Every week, I completely sell out.”
While Socorro has made a few updates to the original recipe, the magic created by using simple ingredients is unchanged. She uses gluten-free corn flour with pork, chicken, cheese, and poblano peppers. She also offers a “vegan special” tamale filled with spinach, onion, and poblano peppers. Her assistant Phyllis (pictured below) is also a great help too.
It’s a recipe that has sold out every Sunday for five years from May through October at a local farmers market. That customer demand convinced Socorro it was time to expand her reach even more.
That’s why teaming up with Market Wagon makes for a perfect partnership—helping her find and reach new customers who otherwise wouldn’t make it to her farmers market. Plus, thanks to Market Wagon’s delivery system, no customer has to leave their house to enjoy Socorro’s delicious tamales.
The tamales are sold in half-dozen packages and made “with love” every week. That love is reciprocated through the feedback she receives on her Market Wagon vendor profile.
“I’ve been getting really good reviews,” Socorro said. “And when somebody orders online from Coco's Tamales, I make sure to send them a thank you message. I also ask for feedback, whether it’s negative or positive, so I can stay in touch with my customers and, hopefully, earn a five-star review.”
These days, the holidays look a little different for Socorro and her family, which has, over time, spread out all around the country. But with Market Wagon handling the people, technology and logistics of her company, Socorro is freed up to spend cherished time with her mother Maria — and, of course, keep the family well-fed as they trickle in from time to time.
“I still do it every Christmas for them. I make the tamales and take them to my mother’s house,” she said. “My passion has been to bring my grandmother’s and my mother’s traditional tamale recipe to as many people as possible, and thanks to Market Wagon, I’m able to do just that.”