Businesses are growing for Maine hot sauce producers across the nation in Sriracha shortage

Billi Barker wasn’t sure why it was so he grew a bit of a hobby in the hot sauces of his specialty.

It was then that the whole nation became aware of the shortage of Sriracha.

Barker had a great harvest last year, St. Organic hot peppers grown at Albans Fire Fly Farm. She has four cases of her Sriracha sauce on hand and enough pepper to make another four.

“Someone recently asked me how much I could earn from supplying one of their customers,” Barker said. “I think I’d better start bringing it to farmers’ markets.”

Billi Barker uses organically grown red peppers in his homemade Sriracha sauces. Credit: Courtesy of Billi Barker.

Supermarkets around Bangor are reporting empty shelves where the California-produced Sriracha cock seal and green cap are usually found. As the summer progresses, it may become more difficult to find hot sauce on the shelves. Instead, those looking for an extra shot should turn to local suppliers or experiment with homemade recipes.

The reason for the reduction in supply is the harsh weather conditions affecting the quality of the peppers used to make the sauce in Irwindal, California, where Huy Fong Foods, Inc. uses about 50,000 pounds of peppers each year.

Huy Fong Foods, where Mexico receives chillies, has been hit hard by droughts and reduced the quality and quantity of hybrid red jalapeno peppers. In an April email to its customers, Huy Fong Foods said it would not be able to produce its products without the essential ingredients including Sriracha chili sauce, garlic sauce and Sambal Oel sauce.

The company has also said it will not accept any new applications and that applications from April onwards will not be filled until September.

This is bad news for fans of the thick, spicy sauce used for wings and jumps.

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