June 2013

Manitoba Chamber of Commerce

Issue link: http://publications.winnipegfreepress.com/i/141831

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P E M B I N A VA L L E Y Sunny Day staff show off some of the store's popular Mexican imports. The company also makes fresh tortillas and other goods. Photos by Darcy Finley TACO THE TOWN MEXICAN FOOD IS HOT IN WINKLER By Jennifer McFee Y ou can buy corn tortillas so fresh they're still warm at Sunny Day Products in Winkler. Owner Dick Plett, who grew up in Mexico, specializes in imported and locally made Mexican food in the town where Mennonite-Mexican flavours are common on restaurant menus and in local kitchens. Sunny Day sprouted up 16 years ago, when Plett moved back to Manitoba after a dozen years in Bolivia and Mexico, where he worked on social development projects with the Mennonite Central Committee. "We had to decide what we were going to do now. My father-in-law roasted sunflower seeds starting way back in the late 1950s. He gave the roaster to his sons, who had other ideas and left the roasting to the side," Plett says. "There was this old roaster sitting in the shed and we decided that maybe we ought to get in the roasting business. We got out that old roaster and we reworked it, modified it, cleaned it and fixed it up. We're still using the same roaster today." The sunflower seeds are grown in southern Manitoba and Plett sells them in 11-kilogram and 23-kilogram bags to bulk stores. The company also sells roasted peanuts, pumpkin seeds and pistachios. Following in his footsteps, Plett's sons have embarked on their own entrepreneurial enterprises. Two of his sons have a coffee company called Other Brother Roasters. Their product is available in Winkler at Jonny's Java café, which is owned by another of Plett's sons. Sunny Day Products launched its own Mexican food division a decade ago, when Plett drew on his connections in Mexico and started to import salsas and hot sauces. Many more products followed, including recent additions such as Mexican fruit nectars. Trading both ways, Plett exports agricultural products such as sunflower seeds, beans, flax and canola to Mexico. Local customers frequent Sunny Day's storefront in Winkler, and Plett's products are available in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario, as well as in stores and on restaurant menus throughout Manitoba. "We're trying to focus more and more on restaurants, and there's quite a number of stores in Winnipeg that carry our products. We represent some of the more well-known trademarks in Mexico," Plett says. "We supply a number of items to restaurants in Winnipeg and Steinbach and Brandon." Along with fresh corn and flour tortillas, Sunny Day makes whole wheat and spelt options on site. "We also make tamales, flautas and burritos. Most recently, we've started making our own refried beans with our own recipe and spices. That is aimed only for restaurants at this point," he says. "We just keep looking at what is popular and how we can make it as genuinely Mexican as possible." www.sunnydayproducts.com 16 MBiz June 2013 MBiz June 2013_final.indd 16 6/21/13 2:55:07 PM

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