Real Mojo Foods

Pickled carrots and dill chips, just two of the delicious pickled items sold by Real Mojo Foods.
Pickled carrots and dill chips, just two of the delicious pickled items sold by Real Mojo Foods. Photo by Anastasia Murphy

What does it take to launch a successful artisanal craft food business in the era of fast-food drive-throughs and Costco delivery service? Like many timeless recipes, the ingredients for such an enterprise are simple: passion, a strong work ethic, and a little bit of magic. (An amazing garlic pickle offering helps, too.)

When Dennelyn “Dee” Siazon pursued a culinary arts diploma through the former International Culinary Center in Campbell, Calif., she had no intention of launching Real Mojo Foods, a purveyor of small-batch pickles, jerkies, and sauces from simple, fresh ingredients. She simply wished to reconnect with the joy she felt as a young girl during Wisconsin summers spent picking and preserving fruits and vegetables with her mom. When friends started asking to purchase the products she was making, however, a business was born.

Delia and Denneyn "Dee" Siazon. Photo by Anastasia Murphy
Delia and Denneyn “Dee” Siazon. Photo by Anastasia Murphy

Siazon began selling her wares at local events, connecting with customers immediately. 

“At one pop-up event, a customer was super excited to see our pickles and wanted a sample,” Siazon recalls. “She immediately commented how it brought her back to her childhood and shared her fond memories of her grandmother making homemade pickles.” 

When another early customer declared that the products were “magical,” Siazon decided to name her business Real Mojo Foods, since mojo is a synonym for magic.

“At the time, my pickles and hot sauces were the only products available,” Siazon says, “so I was on the search to find other goods.” 

Cheryll and Jon Lubin, Dee Saizon's business partner.
Cheryll and Jon Lubin, Dee Saizon’s business partner. Photo courtesy of Real Mojo Foods.

This led her to Cheryll and Jon Lubin, who were making jerky with a similar devotion to creative flavors and a farm-to-fork mentality. The Lubins were accepted into the Alchemist Microenterprise Academy, a 12-week incubator program hosted by Sacramento nonprofit Alchemist CDC. (See edible Sacramento’s story about this Alchemist CDC program in our Spring 2022 issue.) Siazon says the 12-week program gave them the support and resources they needed to take their business to the next level.

Real Mojo Foods’ products are currently available in seven specialty stores in the Bay Area, as well as Warehouse Creative in Old Sacramento, which carries RMF’s pickles, hot sauces, barbecue sauce, and Bloody Mary kits, complete with the ever-popular bacon jerky.

Siazon says Northern California consumers have been very supportive.