Becoming Manolo

The Story of Manolo’s Best Farmstand Chili

A Brief History

I grew up in a traditional Washington DC household in the ‘70s. I idolized my father, my hero, who was partially paralyzed defending the Allies at the Battle of Normandy in 1945. This was a formative moment for the world and for millions of families, including the Wolinsky’s. Returning from the war, my father’s health was poor; and what made his war wounds far worse was his diet. I did everything he did, including following his diet (ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted).

Trouble in Paradise

Fast forward 40 years. After successfully exiting two entrepreneurial ventures, my diet and poor health choices caught up with me. I was married to the love of my life, Yvette, a C-suite executive at a large multinational, had everything I could want. Still my health was that of someone 50 years older. High blood pressure. Terrible cholesterol counts. Every digestive acronym you can think of – IBS, IBD, etc. You get the picture. Insomnia, Apnea. Every visit to the Doctor for one malady revealed yet a new one. Oh, and then the near miss heart attack…. It was a terrible cycle, and in 2011 I had had enough. It was time to change, I was ready.

The Birth of Manolo’s Chili.

Yvette’s mother, staying true to her roots, began calling me by my Spanish name, Manolo. And Manolo’s Best Farmstand Chili was born. Our first big break came when Whole Foods invited us to sample our nascent product for “the Hatchery” at Whole Foods Market at Cherry Hill, New Jersey. This was the only incubator program in the area. I sampled my goods to the public and got invaluable feedback from potential customers. We became the only producer invited to sell our product in Whole Foods’ Prepared Foods dept. Three years later MBFC is found in more than 60 Whole Foods, enjoying a vibrant following and helping many people lead healthier lives. Oh, and by the way, I’ve lost 55 pounds and all my health issues are now gone. As a company, MBFC lives by core tenants of giving back as we have been given so much. We have one of the most robust training and diversity programs of any company our size, focusing on offering employment opportunities to our Nation’s veteran community. MBFC also donates 5% of profits to organizations helping food-insecure veterans, as well as teaming with local nonprofits to donate healthy food to veterans who need it. Manolo’s Best Farmstand Chili is a celebration of healthier eating and living, our diversity, and the gift of giving back to those who are so deserving.