These tortillas are all in the family

Harriot Manley

Little Joaquin Davis dives into the flour with both hands― it's on his shirt, his cheeks, the tip of his nose. "Guesshe's in the family business," says Marla Madrid, mother of theboisterous 2 1/2-year-old.

That business is tortillas ― colorful, flavored tortillas― with fresh ingredients like Gilroy garlic, cilantro, andNew Mexico chiles.

"Everything here is from scratch ― nothing powdered ordried," Marla says of her Santa Fe Trading Company, tucked into aSacramento warehouse. Inside, apron-clad employees, includingMarla's mom, dad, and brother, produce 30,000 tortillas daily.

Creatively flavored tortillas have been in the family for awhile. "When we were growing up in New Mexico, my mom would tosscrumbled bacon in the tortilla dough," notes Marla's father, Andy.With wife Lola, he opened Mexican-food restaurants in Denver andCalifornia. "[Marla] was 11 years old, and she'd work the cashregister, standing on top of a big can of tomatoes to reach thekeys," says Andy. Later, she headed to San Francisco StateUniversity.

After she earned her business degree there, the booming rise intaquerias in the city's Mission District caught Marla's eye, Andysays. "She came to me and said, 'Dad, we're going into the wrapbusiness.' She wanted to make flavored tortillas, using only freshingredients."

Five years later, Marla says, "People tell me they're the bestthey've ever tasted." If you'd like to taste them yourself, visitNugget Markets in the Sacramento Valley or farmers' markets inDavis, Pleasanton, Roseville, and San Rafael (Civic Center), ororder them by phone (877/538-7972). ― Harriot Manley

Get 'em fresh

Stop in for tastings at NuggetMarkets in Woodland (1 p.m.-4 p.m. May 22, 2004; 157 Main St.)and Sacramento (1 p.m.-4 p.m. May 29, 2004; 1040 Florin Rd.).

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