Underwood Family Farms
3370 Sunset Valley Road

5696 E. Los Angeles Ave.

After visiting the Underwood Family Farms booth at the Ventura County Fair this year, I was given a quick update about the latest venture, in condiments. While Underwood Family Farms is known for all sorts of crops, especially berries — you can pick your own — internationally, the farm may be best-known for growing the red peppers for the beloved mainstream sriracha hot sauce.  And now, the family farm has produced its own sriracha sauce, plus barbecue sauce, red and green hot sauces, pickled jalapeños and whole cascabellas.

First thing that comes to mind: For real, some like it HOT. Good thing I do.

I was aiming to use the barbecue sauce at my birthday party picnic, but I was hesitant, fearing that people might forgo the barbecued options with sauce on them, given how nasal-clearingly hot it is — “peppers make the sauce.” No doubt!

I am just a bit sensitive to heat, even though I prefer it, so on another occasion I opted to mix it with some mac and cheese and some meatloaf from Trader Joe’s. Be sure to taste it first so you can be sure to add the right amount. For my meal, it gave it just enough punch and sweetness with that smoky flavor, allowing me to really savor my meal.

One afternoon after work, I opened the verde hot sauce. I also wanted to try out the roja hot sauce. Both met the expected heat factor that I enjoy.

“Smells hotter than Tapatio,” my partner said as I dipped my chips between the roja and verde. The only obvious difference was a hint of the green chile used (maybe Anaheim) and red chile. The roja was the shining mouthwatering, tear-jerking star.

I did blend the sauces and barbecue together and dipped my chips in the mixture. The barbecue flavor offset the heat nicely.

For the jalapeños, I ate them with pita chips, hummus and artichoke antipasto. It’s a flavorful accent with a kick that worked well with both. Of course if you want to put them on a sandwich or nachos, they will not overwhelm the dish. I was actually surprised they weren’t hotter, like the sauces, but that was a welcome aside.

The sriracha tastes practically identical to the name brand, so no surprises there. I added it to a cup of broccoli cheddar rice. Nice way to end the day watching Ramsay’s chef competition show before heading to bed. The cascabellas, however, I still haven’t had the time to try. Perhaps an adventurous reader will let us know how they are.