Dear Sosu Fans,
We are back on the farm!
This year we are working with two farmers in the Salinas Valley/Holllister region and two farmers in the Clarksburg region in Northern California to grow tomatoes and chili peppers for our delicious Srirachup and Barrel-Aged Sriracha sauces.
The direct relationship with our farmers is very important to us. The freshness that you taste from our sauces is a result of the partnership. We work hand-in-hand with them during the growing and harvest season to hand-pick the produce when it’s fresh and at the peak of the season.
Many people ask me, because you source from different regions and farms, does the tomatoes or chili peppers in your sauce taste different each year? And I tell them, YES! Absolutely! The base flavors of our sauces are the same, but we welcome the differences and nuisances of the flavors in the tomatoes and chili peppers depending on the “terroir” or region it is grown and depending on the weather for that year.
Here are some "saucy" notes from the 2014 growing season!
2014 Farming Season
Salinas Valley/Hollister, CA
The Salinas Valley/Hollister region has been instrumental to our growth in past seasons. Located about 100 miles south of San Francisco, the area is known for it’s hot summers and cool nights. The variation in temperature produces some of the best tomatoes and chilies in California.
We’re excited to continue our relationship with our farmer in Salinas Valley from last season and because of you and your overwhelming support, we're thrilled to team up with another farmer in the region.
Both farmers are graduates of ALBA (Agriculture & Land-Based Learning Association), an in-class and hands-on farm training program that teaches farmers the necessary skills to become an organic farmer. This is important to us because of how rigorous the program is and also the emphasis on organic farming and taking care of the land.
Farming Notes from Salinas Valley:
Type: Early Girl tomatoes, a sweet and juicy tomato. Fresh and clean flavors. Fresno and jalapeño peppers.
Soil: Sandy soil.
Climate: Hot summers (goes up to 110 degrees) and cool nights. The variation in temperature also creates more flavor for tomatoes because of the difference.
Growing season: Transplanting starts now in Mid-May and continues to June. Plants are ready to be harvested in July/August.
Yield: Did you know average yield per tomato plant ranges from 10-20 lbs of tomatoes.
(The land in Clarksburg, CA)
(Peppers growing in the green house before transplanting)
(Peppers ready to be transplanted in the ground)
(The tractor + machinery that is used to plant the peppers in the ground)
(Hand planting one by one)
(The machine has two wheels that enclose the soil after the plant is placed in the ground)
(Rich and nutrient soil of Clarksburg, CA - Sacramento Delta)
(A fresno pepper plant)
(On the tractor with our farmer, ready for planting!)
This is our first year growing in the Clarksburg region. Up about 80 miles northeast of San Francisco, Clarksburg is the lesser known “wine country” but produces some of the best grapes for wine making. The same climate works great for peppers, as the hot summer days and cool nights create variations that adds to the flavor of a pepper. The area is surrounded by the Sacramento delta, which makes the soil rich and full of nutrients. (It’s so rich, it’s black!)
We are excited to be working with two farmers in the Clarksburg area to grow our chili peppers for Srirachup and Barrel-Aged Sriracha.
Farming Notes from Clarksburg, CA:
Pepper Types: Jalapeno and Fresno chili peppers
Soil: “Sacramento Clay” Rich, dark soil with lots of nutrients from delta.
Climate: Because it is strategically near Sacramento River, cool weather but hot summers.
Growing Season: Transplanting starts now in Mid-May and continues to June for warmer weather. Plants ready to be harvested in August/September when they turn red.
Yield: Did you know one plant of peppers only yields about 1 lb of peppers? It’s a lot of hard work.
Sosu's Own Farm Project - Oakland, CA
This year, we also started our own small farm on a 30x30 inch plot of land in Oakland at the Lake Merritt Gardens. We are sharing the plot with CHAA (Community Health for Asian Americans), and on the small plot of land, we are growing various tomatoes and chili peppers. The purpose of the plot is for us to experiment with different varieties of tomatoes and peppers but also share our bounty with our neighbors and educate community about different kinds of produce we can grow. Stay tuned, we might have enough tomatoes and chili peppers to make 1 estate-grown bottle of ketchup or Barrel-Aged Sriracha!
(Sosu's mini farm project - tomatoes and chili peppers)
(Getting the soil ready for planting)
(Harvesting potatoes from the garden)
(Tsering - CHAA and myself)
(Sosu and CHAA)
If there’s one thing I have learned about farming it’s not easy work. But the farmers do it because they love what they do, and it’s rewarding for them when someone taste their hard work and love the flavors of the produce. This is also the same exact reason why I am proud to work with them, so I can share their bounty with you in your cooking and dinners through our sauces.
If you have thoughts or feedback, please share with us below.