Peruvian transplant finds joy in green business

Written by on July 2, 2014 in Neighborhood News - 1 Comment
Juan Barbaran offers service with a smile at the Fell’s Point Farmers Market. - Photo by Erik Zygmont

Juan Barbaran offers service with a smile at the Fell’s Point Farmers Market. – Photo by Erik Zygmont

An excellent place to hit up for some designer waffles or eggs so fresh that, the farmers market serves another purpose for the vendors.

For Juan Barbaran, proprietor of #JUAN Guacamole, it’s an opportunity like no other.

“People say that the American Dream is dead,” he says. “It’s not.”

Barbaran came to the U.S. from Peru in 2000 when he was 21; now he is 36. A consultant by day, establishing his own business has been his goal for some time.

“I was gong in my head from a daycare to an event planning firm–things like that,” he says.

As with most breakthroughs, the answer had been in front of him the whole time.

“I’ve been making guacamole since I was 6 years old,” he says.

Over the years he fine-tuned his methods and his recipe as he made the treat for family and friends.

Barbaran says they started asking him a simple question:

“Why don’t you put it in a container and sell it?”

Most who have started their own businesses like to tell of the difficulties, the sleepless nights, and the near-crippling uncertainty.

Not Juan.

“Everything happened so easy,” he says. “We have sold out every single day.”

Right now, the Fell’s Point Farmers Market, Saturday mornings, is Barbaran’s key spot. He said that the market manager, Merritt Dworkin, was especially receptive and supportive of his idea.

“For Fell’s Point it wasn’t that difficult,” he says. “Nobody is selling guacamole like me.”

#JUAN Guacamole is currently on a waiting list for the big farmers market, the Baltimore Farmers Market and Bazaar under the Jones Falls Expressway.

Barbaran doesn’t plan on stopping with farmers markets.

“My goal is to eventually do this full time.”

“I know a lot of restaurants offer guacamole, but it’s not good,” he adds. “I get feedback from a lot of people.”

He also mentions wine festivals and lacrosse games as potential markets.

“I’d like to maybe get a license and sell outside of stadiums, like for Ravens games,” he says.

For anyone who wants to start their own business, Barbaran has pretty boilerplate advice:

“Have a passion,” he says. “I have a passion for guacamole. I can eat avocados everyday; I grew up eating avocados.”

Barbaran also credits his wife and family, and the help they give him, with much of his success.

It also comes down to hard work. Barbaran rents a commercial kitchen, and puts in six to eight hours of preparation prior to a farmers market appearance.

Also:

“Have a plan; be organized. I know things happen, but I always make sure my product is fresh.”

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