Space Salsa That's Out of This World

7/6/2021

Retired Ignacio science teacher Danny Jaques is famous for his spicy, fresh homemade salsa. Now, he's making, packaging, and selling a dehydrated version that he hopes one day will be out of this world. Literally. Sponsored by FASTSIGNS and The Timbers at Edgemont Highlands

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Retired Ignacio teacher, Danny Jacques, wants to make a salsa that's out of this world, literally. You're watching the Local NEWS Network, brought to you by Fastsigns and The Timbers at Edgemont Highlands. I'm Wendy Graham-Settle. Like most boys who grew up with the US space program in the 1950s and 60s, Danny Jacques wanted to be an astronaut. But duties on the family ranch, just south of Ignacio, kept him close to home. Although he never launched into extra terrestrial orbit himself, Jacques now hopes his line of dehydrated salsas will jet into space as part of an International Space Station menu, or perhaps on a trip to the moon. You might think his goal is a bit far-fetched for a retired science teacher living out in the boonies of southwest Colorado. But Danny's rocket ranch space salsa recently received certification as a space program partner with the Space Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes education and collaboration for space exploration and space-inspired industries.

Space Foundation certifies different products that use space technology. And because of the Mylar packaging, dehydration, freeze-drying, our product qualifies to be space certified. So it is space certified. And, hopefully, we'll get it into space, so we can show them that it is as tough as we think it is.

Jacques has may have stayed close to home as a science teacher in Ignacio, but his love of space never left orbit. In 1992, he attended his first space camp at the US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, where German-born scientist Wernher von Braun developed the Saturn V rocket that launched astronauts to the moon. That first camp started his annual pilgrimage to get his space fix. And during the next 25 years, he took more than 450 students with him. To inspire their own love of space research and travel. He was honored for his commitment to space education when in 2010 he was inducted into the Space Camp Hall of Fame. Jacques is famous among friends and colleagues for his homemade fresh salsas. So on one of his trips to space camp, he started a tradition of making and sharing a batch with the scientists, astronauts, engineers, and teachers he met there.

I've been asked over the years, "Danny, you ever thought about marketing this?" And I go, "Well, yeah, I have, but I don't know anything about this." So we're sittin' there, this was 2018, and my friend Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, who flew on the shuttle, she was a former Fort Collins teacher. And I go, "Dottie, would you think the folks would like my salsa on the space station?" And she goes, "They would love your salsa." So I started thinking about it. And so, I'd been stayin' up, I said, "Okay guys, I don't know how I'm going to do this, but..." We would go there every year to help raise money for the Space Camp Hall of Fame Scholarship Fund. I'm going to make somethin' that we can sell, and help with the Space Hall of Fame Scholarship Fund. So that's how the idea came about.

Jacques, who calls himself the chief salsa-naut, and his forever bride, Laura Lake-Jacques, hand mix and hand packaged their secret recipes in their kitchen, on the family homestead he renamed The Rocket Ranch. They use heavy Mylar for packaging and vacuum seal the product to stay fresh on the long trips into outer space. Or say, into the Weminuche Wilderness, in a backpack. Just add water and eat as he would any salsa. The Martian Spicy Original Space Salsa has a warm bite, while the Martian Hot has a bit more of a kick. It's available at a variety of retail outlets in Arboles, Ignacio and Durango. Or you can order online at dannysrocketranch.com. Partial proceeds from salsa sales will be donated to The US Space and Rocket Center Education Foundation, for space camp scholarships. Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Network. I'm Wendy Graham-Settle.

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