By Kira Golden

Patrick Evans has been the Chief Meteorologist for CBS Local News here in the desert for the last twelve years. But last year, he decided to turn his family hobby–making sausage–into a business. “I grew up in an Italian household, and this was something my father and I did together and something he and his father did together,” Evans explained over the phone last week. “When I moved here to the desert, I was actually auctioned off as a guest chef and I had to cater a gig for around ten or twelve people. I chose to do some of my traditional family recipes, and the Italian sausage, which I make myself. And everyone was like, ‘Wow, this is fantastic! Where did you get the sausage?’ And I said, ‘Well…I make it.’ And they said, ‘You know, you really have to sell this.'”

Apparently, he and his father, Fulvio Antonio “Tony” Iachetta, had talked about doing just that years prior. After some deliberation, Evans decided to track down the means to mass produce his family’s recipes. “We found somebody in the business, called a co-packer–somebody who can make sausage, but who will make your sausage to your specifications,” Evans said, which resulted in the first batch of Fulvio’s Foods Italian Sausage–named for his father–at the beginning of this year. “I select what cuts of pork go into my sausage, I select the spices.” Evans went on to explain the process. “You take your home recipe and you break it down into a 1 lb batch of sausage and you figure out the amount of each spice, down to the gram, everything that goes into it, and break it down so you have a stable recipe. And now, they can make it in about 800 lb batches. The company is located in Orange County, and they have my proprietary recipes, and I call, tell them how much I need, and four days later, it’s ready.”

Currently, Fulvio’s Foods has two varieties of Italian Sausage on the market, a mild and a spicy–both very traditional Italian recipes, with no fillers or preservatives and all-natural ingredients, Evans assured me, but he also said they are working on a couple other flavor profiles that can be expected sometime next year. There are about 25 different restaurants in the Coachella Valley who are incorporating his sausage into their menu. Among those are Babe’s BBQ & Brew House, the La Quinta Cliffhouse, and Sirocco inside of the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort in Indian Wells. There are also a few retail locations, where people can buy the sausage by the pound and take it home, such as The Deli on Miles in Indio and The Real Italian Deli in Palm Desert, which, Evans informed me, will be opening a second location in Palm Springs this very week.

When asked if there were any plans to expand beyond the Coachella Valley, Evans was enthusiastic. “We’re talking with a couple of different distribution companies…. The companies I’m talking to have a presence, not just in Riverside County, but also in San Diego, Orange, and LA counties. Over the next six months, I’d like to make this much more of a regional product. It’s very local right now. I’d like to build on the success we have.” Evans went on to say that given how much the chef at Sirocco, which is owned by Marriott, loves the product–they make three different dishes featuring the sausage, moving about 50 lbs per week–he hopes that having his foot in the door in such a global company will open up opportunities for further expansion as well.

For more information and for a full list of where you can enjoy or purchase Fulvio’s Foods Italian Sausage, visit the company’s website at www.fulviosfoods.com.

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