The story of Cappadona Ranch has been one of twists, turns, surprises, family, and adventure.
The journey began decades ago, when the grandparents of Justin Cappadona would come to purchase land in northern Hidalgo County, in the small rural community of Linn, Texas, less than 50 miles from the Mexican border. The two would come to grow on the ranch with their family, building a home and working the land. Then, as it is now, thousands of mesquite trees bejeweled the countryside.
Native to Texas, mesquite trees haven’t always been on the friendliest of terms with ranchers. Referred to by some as devil trees, the relationship between the two has always been a bit complicated, to say the least. Providing nutrition and sustenance to cattle and wild animals during seasons of drought, the mesquite tree was also known as invasive and destructive.
Despite this love and hate relationship, the mesquite trees would come to flourish on what was then known as Castellano Ranch. It was to be years down the road the before the true value and importance of those mesquite trees would come full circle.
Fast forward a few generations, and as fate would have it, the grandchild of the original Castellano Ranch owners would come to meet Ms. Victoria Barrera.
Life has a funny way of working out, and soon, Ms. Victoria Barrera would become Ms. Victoria Barrera Cappadona. At this time, Cappadona Ranch was only a twinkle in the eyes of Victoria, but it was a dream that would one day become a delicious reality.
Life continued on its traditional path. The family of two would soon become a family of five.
But destiny was only beginning to work its magic. It was in the summer of 2012 that lightning struck in the form of a mesquite bean pod falling from its tree.
Intrigued and amazed at this “new” discovery, Victoria ran to her own father who confirmed the findings. He recounted how in the 1940s, during the time of war and rations, he and his siblings would chew on the mesquite bean pods during the summertime for their sweet flavor. Almost like a candy.
Diving into research, Victoria even found that the Native Americans had considered mesquite as the “Tree of Life” and used its beans for centuries as a staple in their meals because of their high protein and sugar.
Waiting and growing silently on Castellano Ranch, the mesquite trees were soon to find themselves in the spotlight. Victoria began to experiment, discovering a few recipes and foods that could be made from the mesquite bean pods.
With a sense of adventure and desire to try something new, Victoria and her children gathered some mesquite bean pods from her backyard. The first few batches weren’t what she had intended but through a little bit of trial-and-error, she found the perfect mesquite bean jelly recipe. And it was delicious!
Her children began to prefer it over store-bought jellies and soon her family and in-laws were asking her to make a few batches to give away.
The floodgates were just about to open up. In the summer of 2013, Victoria and Justin decided to venture out into the world of mesquite bean jelly. With her background in cooking and graphic designs skills, it was a match made in heaven.
Of course, there was the little matter of coming up with the right name. Originally starting as Castellano Mesquite Bean Jelly, the enterprise began to grow and soon emerged as Rio Grande Mesquite LLC. But that wasn’t to last for long. Battling for ownership to the name, Justin and Victoria decided it was in their best interests to simply rebrand themselves one-last-time.
And from the history of Castellano Ranch, the future of Cappadona Ranch was born.
That summer 50 cases of Cappadona Ranch Mesquite Bean Jelly were made and advertised by word-of-mouth. They sold out by December 1st.
The ideas began to roll in. The following summer would find Cappadona Ranch with a brand new product - Mesquite Bean Jelly with Chili Pequin. With the chili pequin growing native in Texas all year around (and with plenty of the pepper growing wildly at Cappadona Ranch) it was a perfect combination. Down South sweetness with just the right kick of Texas zing.
Cappadona Ranch was growing. 80 cases were made that summer. 40 with chili pequin and 40 without. Both recipes sold out by the beginning of December.
In 2015, Cappadona Ranch magic happened once again. Victoria, in the process of making her mesquite bean infusion, decided to try drinking it over ice with just a twist of lemon. It was an experience unlike any other.
Delicious. Refreshing. Natural. Cappadona Ranch Mesquite Bean Tea was to be the newest product.
And things were only getting started. With a plan of attack, Victoria Cappadona hit social media hard, creating Facebook events, sharing recipes and pictures, developing Google form order links for customers to order online, and even attending the McAllen Christmas Festival of 2015.
With business cards, banners, and disposable spoons on hand, Cappadona Ranch hit the world like a tasty storm. The smiles on people’s faces when they tasted Cappadona Ranch Mesquite Bean Jelly. The wonder in their eyes when they realized it was mesquite bean that they were enjoying.
She knew instantly that this was her calling. That Cappadona Ranch was building something miraculous and scrumptious.
She wasn’t the only one to notice she had something magical in her hands.
In 2016 the McAllen Chamber of Commerce awarded Cappadona Ranch the McAllen Chamber Innovation grant. This grant was awarded to only six entrepreneurs out of hundreds who had applied and was “designed to allow entrepreneurial pioneers to advance their groundbreaking ideas towards reality.”
The McAllen Chamber weren’t the only ones to pay heed to all the amazing and unique products that were popping up from Cappadona Ranch. The company was also the recipient of the USDA’s 2016 Value Added Grant, which helps agricultural products enter into value-added activities related to the processing and marketing of new products.
The Cappadona Ranch story has been one of hard work, dedication, and a willingness to step foot in the direction others have been afraid to try. It’s been an adventure in the making, taking generations to come to fruition but finally seeing the light of day.
From great grandparents to Mrs. Victoria Cappadona’s own children, this has been an effort of family, love, and the desire to bring just a little bit of goodness to the world around them. Now here they stand, several years down the road. Still growing. Still providing the best Mesquite Bean products this side of Texas.
And believe us. There’s still plenty more surprises to be had!
Give The Gift Of Texas! Give Some Texas Gold! Cappadona Ranch Mesquite Bean Jelly, Cappadona Ranch Mesquite Bean Jelly With Chili Pequin, or Cappadona Ranch Mesquite Bean Tea! Texans LOVE It!