Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

The tamale lady strikes again


Market-goers love Guadalupe Maldonados pupusas

Guadalupe Maldonado, owner of Tamales by Lupe, is famous for her delicious pupusas and tamales at the Forest Grove Farmers Market, a program of the nonprofit Adelante Mujeres.

Outside the market, she is also known for her overwhelming commitment to the Latino community.

Originally from Guerrero, Mexico, Maldonado started a career working in early childhood education when she moved to the U.S. She found her start at the Oregon Child Development Coalition, then with HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschoolers and Youth) in Cornelius, which eventually lead to her position as the parent coordinator for Adelante Mujeres. Today she continues to recruit new Adelante participants, makes home visits and teaches parenting classes.

Not only does Maldonado enjoy working with families, she also loves feeding them. “I love to cook and experiment with new recipes,” she said. “The market was also a way for my children to attend university.”

That’s why she began selling snow cones, fruit cups and natural fruit juices at the market in 2005. As the market grew, her menu expanded and she enrolled in Adelante’s microenterprise program to formalize her business. But it wasn’t until 2008 — when became friends with a Salvadoran woman — that she learned how to prepare pupusas.

Maldonado’s thick, hand-made corn tortillas — stuffed with beans, cheese, spinach or meat — draw a salivating crowd of customers every Wednesday at the Forest Grove market. The dish is also served with curtido, a lightly fermented cabbage salad, and Maldonado’s delicious green salsa.

Maldonado remembers that there were only a few vendors when the market first started and her daughters were much younger. Now, with such a demand for her food, Maldonado’s whole family helps load equipment, cook, take orders, clean-up, load up and unload the vehicles again at the end of the night. It is quite an effort, but each week family members greet customers with friendly smiles because they love the work they do.

“The most special part of the market is that even though there are so many different cultures represented, I feel like we are all one ... every year the same people come to visit, greet one another and they are happy to be back year after year,” said Maldonado. “My suggestion to other women that want to start a business is not to be afraid to do what they love.”

If you’ve never tried a tamale or pupusa before, they are well worth the wait. Come taste for yourself at the Forest Grove Farmers Market every Wednesday through October from 4 to 8 p.m. on Main Street downtown.

Kaely Summers is manager of the Forest Grove Farmers Market.