Written by Güero y Maria Owner Allen O'Dearie
Growing up in Mexican culture there’s hot sauce everywhere and it’s very common for many people to say “If there’s no hot sauce, I can’t eat”.
Our first batch of hot sauce started by accident. We had frozen habanero peppers in bags when a relative visited us from Mexicali, Mexico and asked me “Why don’t you use those habanero peppers?”
I told him they are too spicy, nobody wants them. He said that’s nonsense, you should do something with them. I thought about it, pulled out the bag, and then forgot about them!
A few days later when I remembered, I opened the bag and was hit with this delicious habanero aroma. In those few days I forgot about the bag of habaneros, they had started fermenting. I was amazed by my accidental fermenting so I was led down the path to research more about fermentation.
Since we own a Mexican supermarket in Quincy, Washington our customers are migrant farm workers from Mexico and tourists from all over. We started giving out samples of our hot sauce and collecting data. After the feedback and great reviews we decided to bottle and sell it at our market so people can have it as a souvenir from this area.
A lesson we learned early on is that big companies actually can’t compete with us little ones. A big company has to make many sacrifices in order to distribute and produce on a large scale, so steps like cooking local sourced ingredients is what makes small batch hot sauce better than mass produced.
What makes us unique is the fact that we are creating a product with a delicious Mexican flavor in the US. Our habanero peppers are grown in this area where we have extreme weather. We experience both the freezing cold in the winter and the super hot summers.
Our logo has two dolls called Güero Y Maria. Güero means light skinned Mexican and Maria refers to the virgin Mary, a big part of the Mexican culture with many baby girls in Mexico named Maria.
I had a dream where the couple is always together working and making food to sell. Güero y Maria was first brought into reality by my friend, a Tattoo artist who took my vision and made it into a drawing.
When my friends saw the logo they immediately felt in love with it. A big part of our company is our logo, Guero y Maria. They represent the migrant worker who sticks together in order to withstand all obstacles they face just to sustain a family.
My advice for hobbyists and aspiring hot sauce businesses is that “the perfect sauce’’ in the world does not exist. People have their favorite sauce yes, and all of us sauce makers offer something unique and different when it comes to sauce, so what you make will be somebody's favorite sauce.