steady price point throughout the year.
Currently, Elizondo purchases yellow
corn from growers in Robeson County
and white corn from farmers in Mocksville.
The blue corn has been grown in Illinois,
but Elizondo has convinced local farmers
to grow it here, beginning this year.
Elizondo’s corn products are unique not
only because most are made using North
Carolina corn but also because he’s striving
to use all-organic ingredients.
“People are demanding a quality
product using fresh corn. The shelf life is
never more than three weeks. It’s a tortilla
with a clean label, meaning all the ingredients are, as much as possible, organic.”
To extend the longevity of his tortillas, for
example, Elizondo implements organic
vinegar — versus synthetic preservatives —
in his recipe to lower pH levels.
“We’re using the same process the Aztecs
used,” the Mexico City native added. “We
boil the corn, cook it in hydrated lime to
remove the husks, and grind it using big
stone plates” — a method that literally is
thousands of years old.
By next year, Elizondo hopes to increase
his production to 165,000 pounds of corn
products per week. “We think the market
demands, probably, six or seven times the
amount of corn products we’re currently
Today, Tortillas Carolina delivers its
products to stores and restaurants in North
Carolina and South Carolina, but Elizondo
is in talks with potential clients in Tennessee,
Virginia and Washington, D.C.
“I am a true believer that working
as a team you will accomplish more —
especially when a university is involved,”
Elizondo says. “I think being part of
NCGrowth has given Tortillas Carolina the
opportunity to open its doors to a lot of
people, so they’re aware of all the benefits
of buying a local product produced with
“This guy is on his way,” Basnight said.
“I hope he feels like what we have contrib-
uted helps him get to where he’s already
going. He started this project saying he
wanted to produce 80,000 pounds a week,
and now he’s saying 165,000. I think our
program has been validating for him — he
knows he’s going in a positive direction.”
Buck up your summer reading
with cowboys in Love Valley,
Braceros portraits and protests,
Bonaventure Cemetery’s wild
side, a foodless neighborhood in a
“foodie” city, and more.
Read, research, & subscribe:
Photograph by Michaela O’Brien, Hula Hoop Affair, digital
collage, 2016, as featured on cover of vol. 23, no. 2.