I have recently followed through on an interest of making my own hot sauce. I have some kitchen experience, own some decent kitchen equipment and love trying new and exotic hot sauces. I almost always read the ingredient labels of products that I am consuming and upon reading the labels of some of my most favorite sauces a question came up. Where can I buy peppers for my hot sauce?

Hot peppers can be purchased in the produce section of almost any grocery store. Bell peppers are the most common and if you are purchasing hot peppers for sauce Jalapeno, Serrano and Habanero are the more common ones.

Where can I buy fresh peppers?

Peppers are grown in large quantities throughout Asia and are also produced domestically as well. More than half of the peppers in the US are grown right in New Mexico. Many hot peppers varieties are available for sale at any grocery store that sells produce.

How fresh are peppers at the grocery store?

Usually these stores have a system in place to continually offer only the freshest available produce. However, they will most certainly have a form of pesticide control sprayed on them so if you are concerned with that than the same store may also offer organic produce. Ask the produce clerk directly where they are purchasing their products from.

Stores will usually have a team of buyers who have made connections with grower either locally or in areas where growth is abundant. The reason for this is to ensure the store is able to provide a high quality, fresh product to their consumer without seeing much of a fluctuation in pricing.

Are exotic hot peppers available at the grocery store?

I have found it difficult to find some of the exotic hot peppers such as Ghost or Carolina Reaper for a specialty sauce available at the closest and most convenient store. Some more common peppers such as Jalapeno and Serrano can be found at smaller stores, but I have to regularly travel to a local store chain called Wegmans and they still do not have a large selection of hot peppers available.

While it makes sense that a larger grocery store chain will have a larger selection to offer it may not be the most cost-efficient method of buying hot peppers. If this is your preferred method of purchasing check out all the stores in your area or the local public market for the best pricing.

I HATE shopping! Hate it! I will usually have a game plan and make a quick selection based on my need to get in and out of the store. If you are like me, you may not find what you need very quickly. So, buying peppers at the local grocery store could be time consuming and inconvenient.

Can you buy hot peppers online?

As you would suspect you can buy fresh peppers online from many different web sites. Etsy and Amazon are a good place to start if you want to shop around. They are both well known for their trustworthy online service and they will be shipped relatively quickly.  

Dried peppers are very easy to find online as they have a longer shelf life and can be offered throughout all the seasons. Fresh peppers are seasonal and may only be offered at limited times in limited areas where the climate has acceptable growing conditions.

Lets face it, farmers are good at farming but maybe setting up a website is not their forte. Several of the sites that I researched looked outdated and were difficult to navigate through. I have put together a table below listed by pepper type and have contacted each site directly, old school style. I would suggest calling each one directly and establish a relationship with the one you prefer.

Are buying peppers online going to be fresh?

Buying your hot peppers online will be as fresh as buying them from the grocery store or local market. The web sites listed in the table have already taken care of shipping and can have peppers delivered right to your door.

Where do I buy other ingredients online?

Most of the sites listed in the table will offer only fresh produce online so you may have to go to other sites to find products like vinegar and spices. There are plenty of sites where you can purchase spices at bulk pricing and Alibaba is only one example. You will have to take into consideration the quantity the most sellers require through Alibaba.

I have put together a table of websites where you can have fresh hot peppers online and get them delivered to your house.

CompanyWeb SiteEmail
Bohica Pepper Hutbohicapepperhut.comjason@bohicapepperhut.com
Chili Plants.comchiliplants.cominfo@chiliplants.com
Bakers Peppers bakerpeppers.comContacts page
Esty etsy.comContacts available on vendor pages.
Marx Foodsmarxfoods.comhello@marxfoods.com
Good Eggs goodeggs.comContacts page
Produce Market Guideproducemarketguide.comagrant@farmjournal.com
The Chili Guythechiliguy.comContacts page
Seriously Hot Peppersseriuoslyhotpeppers.comserioushotpepper@aol.com
Pepper Joe’spepperjoe.comcustomerservice@pepperjoe.com
Ghost Pepper Farmsghostpepperfarms.comghostpepperfarms@yahoo.com
Ghost Pepper Storeghostpepperstore.comContacts page
Fresh Chili Cofreshchilico.comservice@freshchileco.com

3 Ways to cut costs on your pepper purchase

1. Buy in bulk. Buying in bulk can reduce the cost for almost anything. Keep in mind where you plan to store them and if you are buying fresh or dried. You may have to limit your order depending on the amount of sauce you plan to make at once.

2. Local farmers. Talk to local farmers in your area and strike a deal. Not only will this cut your costs but it will give you a unique product specific to your sauce grown only in your area. Many local farms and CSA’s probably don’t ship so you may have to pick up.

3. Grow your own. If you have a perfected recipe and want to really cut cost, growing your own is a great option. I wrote and entire blog on the pros and cons of growing verses buying.

Do some of the research to set up the best option of purchasing hot peppers for your sauce that works for you. While quality of the product is extremely important, I am always trying to cut costs as well.  

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