Have you ever felt homesick for South Florida?
I mean like really homesick? So much so that you day dream about the food found on Calle Ocho or in your grandmother’s kitchen?
Well, if you’ve ever felt that before, then you are not alone.
It was that feeling that helped create Abuela Mami, a Miami based food startup.
Humby Valdes, 40, grew up in Miami as a first generation Cuban- American.
He spoke Spanish at home and was raised with all of the Cuban culture comforts.
It was only 5 or 6 years ago that he went to work in New York and for the first time he felt he was away from Miami and from the tastes that helped make home for him.
In New York, he realized that things like some Cuban dishes (i.e pastelitos, guava, Cuban crackers) where hard to find. It was even hard to find Cuban Coffee.
“When you live in Miami you just get Cuban coffee everywhere,” Valdes said in an interview with RISE NEWS.
Valdes found himself constantly missing food and all of other Cuban goodies from Miami.
He thought it was a good idea to create a box full of Cuban goodies that could be delivered around the United States.
His mom and grandmother used to do something similar.
In December 2015, he got together with his brother Kiki Valdes, 35 and launched Abuela Mami.
In Spanish, Abuela means grandmother and Mami stands for mom, the origin of the name comes from Humby’s and Kikis grandmother Blanca del Rio and their mom Gladys Ferrer.
Abuela Mami’s purpose is for their costumers to have an emotional connection when they open their monthly box of Cuban treats.
You can also make one time purchases of either the Coffee Box ($25.95) or the Surprise Box ($19.99).
The most popular subscription is for the Surprise Box, which is just as it sounds.
Each box contains 4 to 9 items of handpicked Cuban culture goodies.
Boxes can include kitchen tools, games, snacks, sweets and coffee among other interesting things.
Abuela Mami is based in Miami and all of the products also come from Miami area suppliers.
With a little help from their 90 year old grandmother, the brothers ensure that the Surprise box is always a unique and intimate Cuban experience.
As it is still a growing business, Humby Valdes insists on the importance of making each box “as intimate as possible”, while making “sure that when people receive the box it comes straight from Miami, something that is coming straight from Cubans or Cubans Americans”.
“The connection that the subscription box has with family, the emotion that it gives to costumers it’s amazing, it is very humbling to be able to make people feel and connect to heritage and family”.
In the future the founders have been thinking of expanding the Surprise Box in a way so they can deliver boxes from other Latin American countries (i.e Colombia or Venezuela),yet for the moment they are focused only on Cuban cultural selections.
Humby Valdes also has some advice for young people who move away from their home.
“They [young people] are going to miss it and realize your mom and mother are not going to be there forever, [so] enjoy your family and heritage.”
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
Photo Credits: Abuela Mami