Serving The Community
Giving Back to Our Community
Mission: From the community to the community
Provide delicious Mexican food using local food whenever possible. We keep an open mind, listening to our customers needs, understanding something good can always be done better. We never forget that we are here because our community is here to support us.
Let me tell you the story of the beginning of an American dream
The first incarnation of Mi Tierra opened In 2004 as a grocery store, in Hadley, Massachusetts.
It was located on the front corner of a strip mall on Route. 9 with high traffic and visibility. The store flourished, and a curious thing happened. The grocery store sold many ingredients that were specific to Mexican, El Salvadorian and Guatemalan cuisine. People routinely asked the owners Dora and Jorge what these items were used for and how they could incorporate them into their own cooking. Over time, customers began to ask them if they could make homemade food for sale at the store. This first food we sold was traditional tamales, which were a huge success.
When considering names for their restaurant, they wanted to name it El Sabor de Mi Tierra, translated as The Taste of My Homeland. They decided to simply name it “Mi Tierra”: My Land. All they needed now was a logo and sign. They hired a graphic artist to make a logo, and incorporated the standard cliché, .. a sleepy Mexican and sombrero and none of the family thought that was appropriate. They had a contest within the family to see who could come up with the best logo for 100 dollars: Their niece, Maritza, age sixteen, won. They brought the picture to the sign company and a logo was born.
About two years after the opening of the grocery store, spurred by the success of their prepared food, an opportunity arose when a neighbor restaurant located in the back of the strip mall, went out of business. Reinvesting their profits from the last couple years, Dora, Jorge and other family members purchased a portion of their kitchen equipment and moved into the space in the back of the strip mall. This provided them with a larger space for their groceries, and they opened a taqueria,
Their plans were to only sell tacos, tamales and burritos, but people kept asking for other dishes, which they provided. The menu grew and grew and the prepared food sales took off.
Dora quit working her other job in 2005 and began to work full time preparing food and helping out with the store business.
Dora, Jorge and family had a dream to provide, in their opinion, the most, traditional Mexican food. They wanted to make tortillas by hand, something many of friends and associates said was not possible. The process of making maza and hand-pressing each tortilla to order was painstakingly slow which is why many restaurants in the area did not choose to follow the time-honored tradition. On the first day the taqueria opened, Mi Tierra only had six tables, seating about twenty four people at the most. They had a hand-painted sign in front of the restaurant on their truck, advertising tacos and burritos for half price. That first day, there was a line around the corner of people who couldn’t wait to get their hands on these fresh, hand-made tortilla wrapped tacos and burritos. This cemented Mi Tierra’s conviction that traditional ways were the best ways.
A few years later, Dora and Jorge started to think they would be wiser to discontinue the grocery store and open a full-fledged restaurant on the site.
Mi Tierra expanded its seating capacity and opened its doors as restaurant in 2009. It featured traditional Mexican food, not the Tex-Mex variety commonly found in the area. Dora, Jorge and family was from the Mexican state of Guerrero, and the food was simple and striking. Tacos were nothing more than homemade tortillas, meat, cilantro and onion. A variety of special plates showcased the more complex flavors of Mexican sauces… the mole was both sweet and spicy.
The restaurant was a big success. The townspeople of Hadley, Amherst, and Northampton spread word of this hidden jewel as it was very difficult to see from Rt. 9. One of the best things a restaurant could hope for took place: once people came, they kept coming back. Mi Tierra established a friend base, and an unusually high percentage of the people coming for the fresh food and ingredients were regulars who needed their “Mi Tierra fix”, some coming as often as two or three times a week. It was a true family operation: Dora out front and Jorge helping out in the back. Their sisters Teresa and Virginia, and later nieces, daughters, and sons also joined in to the growing business. Dora and Jorge’s daughters Estela and Alejandra could frequently be seen running around the restaurant doing small tasks, or just wanting their mother!
Dora, Jorge and Family quietly reinvested all of their increasing funds back into their business, buying kitchen equipment and continuing expanding. In 2010, the adjoining Hadley Pub was bought out by Mi Tierra. The family tore down the wall separating the two businesses, and incorporated the bar into the restaurant. Business continued to increase, they started offering wine and beer, which led to tequila, which led to margaritas…The margaritas were served with the best sour mix around, only using freshly squeezed oranges and limes and fruits.
The year 2013 was a year that showed real promise. The menu was totally revamped and new items added to the already large list of selections . Dora, Jorge and family began their true plan to provide the Valley with the freshest ingredients available. They wanted their food to be as traditional as possible. They wanted the tortillas to come from scratch, using local corn. A friend farmer planted Mexican corn seed. Yellow, red and purple corn kernels. The plants grew up…but without any corn at all! It was simply too cold for the corn to sprout.
They purchased a new automated tortilla machine to better serve the raising tortilla demand for the restaurant and for retail sale. Meanwhile another friend had grown wonderful heirloom yellow corn. They started processing the corn and found out that it worked great, In the meantime, Mi Tierra had perfected both making Nixtamal and using their tortilla maker, which could process 2200 tortillas in an hour with about 150 pounds of nixtamal at a time.
Then the American dream was postponed. Dora, Jorge and Family truly believe that everything happens for a reason. In October 27th 2013 a fire destroyed the plaza taking to the ground a dozen of business including Mi Tierra. A family investment of time, sweat and love for the past ten years was destroyed in a blink of an eye. Ten years of hard work were gone in few minutes. Hadley has become a coveted spot for business bringing some national changes and some multinational business making real estate extremely expensive in consequence almost impossible for Mi Tierra to reopen.
After 13 months Mi Tierra finally re-opened! We were able to re-open thanks to the wonderful help of family , friends , local businesses , town authorities , our attorney , a community minded financial institution and many anonymous people who helped for the only reason they are amazing people with great heart.
The American Dream continues…