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Lodi Parents Turn Family Recipes Into Booming Empanada Business

Rosie and Herman Castillo of Lodi own Rosie's Empanadas. Photo Credit: Lauren Kidd Ferguson
The couple uses family recipes to make their empanadas. Photo Credit: Facebook: Rosie's Empanadas

LODI, N.J. – Rosie and Herman Castillo of Lodi wanted to help raise funds for their son’s wrestling team.

So they started selling their homemade empanadas at matches.

The empanadas were such a hit that fans told them they should go into business.

That’s how “Rosie’s Empanadas” was born.

On Monday, the couple, who have three children, Jonathan, 21, Josh, 14, and Isabella, 5, was serving up the deep-fried treats under a tent at the Bergen County PBA Toy Drive in Closter. They donated their time and food to feed community members who were pitching in to sort and deliver thousands of toys to kids in need.

“One is just never enough,” Herman said, as people came back for second and third helpings.

Rosie and Herman both have day jobs. She is an endoscopy technician at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center and he is a mechanic.

But they spend their weekends serving up their delicious empanadas. Each Saturday they are at the New Meadowlands Market in East Rutherford. And in the summer, they are at Smorgasburg Upstate in Kingston, NY.

They make roughly 20 kinds of empanadas – all family recipes (she is Italian and Columbian and he is Puerto Rican.)

Favorites include the Cubano (stuffed with roast pork, ham, swiss, pickles and mustard) and a Thanksgiving Dinner version (stuffed with turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy.) The BBQ pulled pork and apple pie versions are also top sellers.

"I was blown away with how great they taste," one customer wrote on Facebook.

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