Saturday, July 5, 2014

Jim Duffy Interview - Refining Fire Chiles (California Super Hots)

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Jim Duffy Interview - Refining Fire Chiles

By Allen Fry/Two Frys
I have been corresponding on Facebook with Chile Grower Jim Duffy for sometime now. Jim has sent me some really HOT pods he grows for cooking on the blog. I must say they were very extreme and some of the hottest peppers I ever had. I made some Pique vinegar hot sauce with some of his pods, and the heat was amazing in both the HEAT and flavor categories. Jim grows a huge selection of varieties of Super Hots for some of the best and hottest sauce companies in the United States. The pods of different varieties he sent me were EXTREME.

I recently heard from Jim before this post that he will be doing some lower heat varieties that may add some killer flavors to your dishes and or sauces that are not as extreme. That will be great for folks that like some heat, but do not want a extreme burn. From the pods I sampled from Jim and Refining Fire Chiles, they all were winners, some were killers. I do not do pod reviews individually, but love the heat spectrum of his peppers. So read on and see what Jim has to say about my questions. Enjoy.

What is the secret of your success selling hot peppers?
I try to find the rarest most flavorful peppers and then spread the word about them. Now my friend and I also cook dishes with them so we can learn about their flavor profiles. I am also very passionate about the chiles, and people see that when they meet me which is contagious.

What is the most satisfying thing about what you do, bringing the peppers to the people?
Besides using money for charitable causes, it is seeing someone experience something new and tasty and loving it!

What is the reason why the peppers you sell are some of the best online?
I watch the market and see what I can introduce. I like to be a trendsetter not a follower. I cannot always be first to market with everything, so sometimes I will look at a variety someone else has and then grow it. Then I always track my sales to see if it is something worth growing.

What is the approximate number of hot pepper strains Refining Fire Chiles has available at peak growing time?
For seeds, it is over 150 varieties. Plants it is about 80 to 100. Produce is always lower because we only grow what our clients pre-order and also new varieties. If the new varieties are asked for, then we grow more in next season. This year we are trying out over 60 new sweet and mild varieties that are not available in U.S. produce markets.

Jim what is your favorite type of fruit and/or vegetables?
I am allergic to many fruits and vegetables, but citrus and bananas I like. Favorite vegetables of course are chiles and potatoes.

What is your favorite type of hot sauce, extreme or mild?
My favorite mild is a limited specialty sauce by Doug Crane of Dragons Blood Elixir called Smoky Maple Garlic Bacon. My favorite hot sauce would be CaJohns Happy Beaver.

What is your favorite type of BBQ sauce, hot, spicy or sweet?
Spicy would be Cajun Heats C'est Bon Cajun Q and regular would be a sauce by a company called Yulicious.

Jim, the best spicy meal in the world you have had?
Caribbean Curry in the Bahamas, and Grilled Chicken with Red Habanero salsa in Belize.

Jim, the best spicy meal in the USA you have had?
Chicken Makhni (Butter Chicken) Indian Food in Florida or Shrimp Vindaloo.

Jim what is your favorite type of seafood to use with peppers?

What are some of your favorite restaurants?
Cafe Coyote Old Towne (San Diego), Bronx Pizza (San Diego), Sicilian Thing (San Diego) and Stone Brewery and Bistro (Escondido).

What are some of your favorite small batch hot sauces?
Almost anything made by Dragons Blood Elixir. Also, a Golden Cayenne version of "Firehouse" made by CaJohns.

Jim, how many spicy pepper events do you attend each year?
Two to three.

What is the hottest hot sauce you have ever tried?
Angry Cock by CaJohns.

What is the hottest fresh pepper you have ever tried?
Moruga Scorpion.

Do you believe that hot peppers are good for you and others health?
Yes, I do. I was once a Certified Herbalist, so I know they aid in digestion, cardiovascular and are anti-bacterial.

What are your plans for Refining Fire Chiles in the future?
Grow my business by growing into the Foodie world, as the Chilehead world is only a small niche. This means growing more milder varieties that more people can handle. We are getting tied in with more food media than our competitors. And we are being contacted by more that are waiting for this years harvest. It is going to happen as we speak the Foodie language. My grower friend Daniel is also an excellent Chef, so we can approach the Foodie world with proof through cooking showing just how good our chiles are. Nobody else is doing this approach. We like being part of scientific studies so we can know more about the peppers we sell. In 2010, we worked with a Capsaicin scientist and in 2011, the Chile Pepper Institute. This year, a University on the West Coast is going to look at market and food applications as well as farming new varieties.

Jim, any closing comments on the recent USA growth in fresh peppers and hot sauces. Has your business increased since the recent growth spurt in hot sauce production?
I think it has brought more attention to everything spicy, which will cause growth in any spicy business. Anything spicy in media whether it is hot sauce growth or World's Hottest Peppers will bring attention to chiles and spicy products. So yes, I am sure it has somewhat helped my business.

For further information, please visit: Refining Fire Chiles 
Facebook Official: Refining Fire Chiles 

-Allen / Two Frys

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