My Friend Santi

Feb 5, 2024

On a typical winter afternoon about 4 o’clock in Boynton Beach, Florida, I take off my Bermuda shorts, slip on a bathing suit and head for our neighborhood pool.  I walk a few hundred yards, declare a lounge chair, drop my tee shirt, phone, keys and sandals and do my usual back splash dunk.  It’s hardly a sight to see but boy is it satisfying.

After a few backstroke laps I usually hang out with a friend or two talking about what little we accomplished during the day.  It’s a typical retirement conversation.  So, after we went through the standard formalities one day,, my friend Reed said to me: “Do you see that guy with the broad brim hat on the other side of the pool? “  “Yeah, so … ?”  “He makes spaghetti sauce.”  “Really?”  “Yeah” “Well, why don’t you introduce him to me?  I’m always interested in learning a new recipe?

And, so we sauntered over to the other side of the pool and my friend did the introduction.

“Donald, this is Santi”.  “I heard you make spaghetti sauce?  “Yes, that’s true.”  “What kind of spaghetti sauce do you make?”  “I make all kinds.”  “Really.”  “ make marinara sauce, vodka sauce, garlic and onion sauce, meat sauce, Italian Sausage and Peppers, Olive Oil and Basil,  Sockarooni sauce.”  “Really?”  Yeah.  and, more.”  “Really?”.

“Do you make a lot of sauce?”  “Yeah, about 600,000 cases a week.” Wow!  After a pause . “Where do you store all of this in your kitchen?“  We have factories in Rochester, Pennsylvania and California.  The one in Rochester is a million square feet. It used to be an Eastman Kodak factory.”  “A million square feet??”  “So, who do you make this spaghetti sauce for?’ “Just about all of the major spaghetti sauce manufacturers you know… Ragu, Paul Newman, Prego, Barilla .. you name it.”

So about this point in time my head was about to explode.  Who ever had a concept that all  of these major spaghetti sauce brands took their recipe to this unknown-to-the-public manufacturer and said, you guys cook our sauce, bottle it in our bottles, add our label and box it up.  We’ll send out trucks over to pick it up.

There are some amazing stories in Sun Valley East.  All you need to do is saunter over to someone at the pool.  That is, when the pool is open.