About Taos Spice Merchants

Taos Spice Merchants proprietor Eliza Collins on the Camino de Santiago

I love spices. Spices have played a huge part in the history of the world. Did you know Pepper was once more valuable than gold?

I believe people are returning to the hearth, cooking for themselves and making healthy food choices. With that interest comes the need for spices, many of which cannot be found in a supermarket.  The ability to smell and taste a spice before your purchase is a wonderful experience. It’s earthy and basic. There are Spice markets all around the globe and freshness is the key.

Uninterested in high end retail or "fancy" business models. I always desired selling something everyone needed or at least, wanted. I had considered a lot of ideas when my daughter, Delta called me up and said, “I’m standing in the middle of a spice shop in Florida and that is what you should be doing!” My first reaction was, That's crazy! But the more I thought about it, the better it tasted...

Starting out independently was difficult. I decided that freshness would be my edge, my advantage over the larger corporations. My ultimate goal was to get the least number of people between the farm and the customers table. Convincing brokers to work with me was a challenge because I only wanted to purchase smaller amounts. Eventually it came together and Taos Spice Merchants opened its doors in September of 2017. I found myself wearing a rustic linen apron while measuring out spices for customers (basically, my dream job!).

These days, my original blends are the top sellers in the store. Many have a Southwest twist to them; Green Chile and Lime, Adobo Seco or the bold Juniper Berry Rub have become local 'must haves' in the kitchen. Others are much more exotic. Za’atars, Curries, Jamaican and Cuban traditional blends are quite popular with many customers. 

For me the joy is not just being the purveyor of spices but what that entails. Talking about the preparation, the food pairings, the recipes and of course, the SPICES! 

Warmly,
Eliza Collins
Taos Spice Merchants