Ameema Ahmed

Christopher Hudson (pictured) has always known the taste of a good tortilla, thanks to his grandmother, who made them from scratch when he was growing up. As an adult, he sought out that same flavor and quality for years before discovering Benny Blanco Tortillas at the Gilbert Farmers Market. “They tasted just like what I grew up with,” Hudson says, and he and his wife quickly became loyal customers and visited the founder and owner, Ben Ramirez, at the farmers market often.

Later, in 2018, Ramirez was feeling burned out and decided to sell his business. When Hudson’s wife saw a Facebook post about the sale, she encouraged her husband to jump on the opportunity. “When I found out Ben was selling the company, I met him for coffee and wrote some notes down on a receipt the cashier gave me, because I didn’t even bring a notebook or anything,” Hudson says. But within two months, Hudson had bought Benny Blanco Tortillas and started “slingin’ tortillas” for a living.

Since taking over the business, Hudson has expanded it from a home-based kitchen to a brick-and-mortar shop in Apache Junction. There, he and his team make tortillas five days a week. And they don’t take any shortcuts.

“We do everything old-school,” Hudson says. “We knead the dough by hand, we shape it by hand, and then we let it rest before it gets pressed. Modern tortillas use dough conditioner and chemicals to rush the process. We use time, which is what my nana did.”

The technique, paired with locally sourced ingredients, is the secret to making a delicious tortilla. According to Hudson, many tortillas found at the grocery store contain 25 or more ingredients. Benny Blanco’s tortillas contain four: flour, salt, fat and water. Hudson sources flour from Hayden Flour Mills, pork lard from local ranches, olive oil from Queen Creek Olive Mill and sea salt from True Salt, an Arizona-based company that harvests it from the Gulf of California. Hudson says this “hyperlocal” mentality is what sets the company’s tortillas apart.

So, how do you know you’re eating a good tortilla? Hudson notes some key factors. “It’s gotta have flavor — if it tastes like cardboard, it’s because somebody is trying to get cheaper ingredients or rushing the process,” he says. “An authentic Sonoran-style tortilla is thin [and] has a little bit of chew and lots of flavor from good fat and a good flour.”

Another trait of a quality tortilla: It has stretch. “If you do it properly, you’ll develop a little bit of gluten and a little bit of stretch, so if you stuff your burrito, it’s not going to burst open, like the store-bought stuff,” Hudson says.

Lauren Ramirez discovered Benny Blanco’s tortillas during the COVID-19 pandemic and has been hooked ever since because they remind her of the ones she grew up eating. “The first time I had the tortillas, I almost cried, because they’re the only tortillas I’ve had that taste like my nana’s,” she says. “In one stop at his tortilla stand, I get the flavors that bring me right back to being a little kid in my nana’s kitchen.”

Ramirez says she also enjoys the rotating specialty flavors, because the “quality never lacks” and she gets to try new flavors with her family. Some of those flavors include cilantro lime, chile verde and roasted garlic. Hudson has also been known to do a “flavor drop” on Instagram, where he’ll announce a specialty flavor the night before it’s made available for preorder to be picked up at a weekend farmers market. 

While flour tortillas are the “OG” ones, Benny Blanco also has corn tortillas made with heirloom white and blue corn, as well as a gluten-free option made with cassava root.

Benny Blanco’s tortillas are available at the Gilbert Farmers Market on Saturdays and the Uptown Farmers Market in Phoenix on Wednesdays. Customers can also stop by the storefront on Thursdays from
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. to pick up some tortillas and see how they’re made.

Business Information

Benny Blanco Tortillas
189 W. Apache Trail, Suite A109
Apache Junction, AZ
United States