Just one company, Underwood Ranches in Camarillo, Cali., grows the chiles used to make Sriracha. And Huy Fong Foods only buys from them. Below, workers dump hand-picked chiles into crates.
Equipment does some of the work though. This year, the farm will grow 48,000 tons of peppers, according to owner Craig Underwood
That would take up a field about the size of lower Manhattan, south of Houston Street
After sorting, a conveyer belt hoists the peppers onto trucks. The farm sends about 30 semis to Huy Fong Foods daily
Vietnamese refugee David Tran founded Huy Fong Foods, located in Rosemead, Cali
Once the chiles leave the trucks, processing starts
They look like red quicksand funneling into factory machines
First, a windmill-like device washes the chiles, removing any dirt or chemicals
Then they enter a grinder
Kind of looks like ground beef, doesn’t it?
After that, industrial, blue barrels store the chile-mash
Later, the mixture gets a dose of garlic and sugar. Below, the sauce cooks while churning
Then, packaging begins. The old factory (not shown) could produce about 70,000 bottles daily. Huy Fong Foods’ new facility, howe
Factory machines also take care of the the final touch, those signature green caps
Aside from the 17- and 28-ounce bottles, the company plans to sell 9-ounce and gallon-sized containers too, according to Tran
Surprisingly, the company doesn’t advertise for any product. Fans, however, often pick up the slack. This dancing chicken comes
Still, Huy Fong Foods has no trouble selling the special sauce. "The past 30 years, the economics sometimes up and down. For me, I feel nothing. Every day, every month, the volume increase," Tran said.
Most importantly, Tran wants to keep the price low for his “chile friends.”