Serrano Peppers from Baja

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Westlake Weekly Update 6.24.20

 Featured Item: Smaller is Hotter

When it comes to picking the right pepper, do you like them big or small?  Or the better question would be, how hot do you like it?  Everyone’s go-to pepper is the jalapeno when you need to add some kick to your dish, but consider the smaller serrano.  The pepper looks similar to its bigger cousin the jalapeno, but it boasts a heat index two to four times that of the jalapeno.  The serrano pepper registers 10,000 to 30,000 SHU on the Scoville scale.  So if you like the bright grassiness of jalapenos, but want to add more heat, a serrano pepper is the perfect substitution.  Typically the smaller the chili pepper, the hotter it gets.  The reason is the concentration of capsaicin.  That’s the chemical found in the ribs and the seeds.  Each pepper can have a slightly different heat level.  To determine how hot your pepper is, cut the top off the serrano pepper and taste it.  If it’s hot enough, you might consider removing the ribs and seeds.  If you’re trying to be macho, then leave them in!  

Serranos are more typically used more in Mexico than in the US.  That’s all the more reason to start using them!  However, they are not just limited to Mexican cuisine.  These peppers are also used in many Thai dishes such as Pad Krapow Gai.  They are easily chopped and added raw to salsas, roasted or sauteed as an appetizer, or pickled!  There is no shortage of recipes to try.  

When buying these hotties, look for firm, bright flesh.  Wrinkles mean the same thing on peppers as they do on us…old!  Store them in a plastic bag in your fridge, and they will keep for weeks.  When you’re ready to use them, wash and dry.  There is no need for peeling.  Simply slice or dice!  Whether you’re cautious and use gloves or are a risk-taker and brave the peppers barehanded, be sure to wash your hands extra well. (I think it goes without saying we’re all experts on handwashing at this point!)  We recommend anytime you’re handling hot peppers to thoroughly wash and dry your cutting board and knife too.  You do not want to get that oil on your face or worse, in your eyes! I don’t care how macho you think you are, it will make the biggest guy or girl weep like a baby! 

Luckily for us, serrano peppers are widely available now from Westlake.  Pick some up today and broaden your culinary horizons. 


Potatoes and Onions:

The russet potato market is quietly rolling along with good quality and availability for this time of the year.  We are starting to see some signs of strength in the market with the larger cartons of russets. We have great quality and availability in the colored potato market as well.  Kern County, California is in full production with red, white, and yellow potatoes.

Central California is hitting its stride on new crop white, yellow, red, and sweet onions.  The quality and availability from our growers are excellent!  We still have a few growers in the Northwest packing yellow onions, but the quality has not been as consistent.


Latin Items:

Westlake has plenty of serrano peppers available from our growers.  As June comes to a close, California has started harvesting out of Bakersfield.  Whether you want jalapenos, red Fresnos, or Anaheim chilis, we have you covered.  


The overall berry market is limited at this time.  Strawberries out of Santa Maria and Salinas/Watsonville region are expected to have a light supply for the next few weeks.  This shortage in supply is due mainly to replenishment and weather conditions from a few weeks back.  Santa Maria saw warmer weather which really colored up the strawberries.  This was good for supply, but shippers were moving through the berries quickly before the quality diminished due to high sugar content.  Now crops are on a two-day picking cycle at best.  Some growers in Santa Maria are winding down…while a few are finished with their season and will resume in the Fall. For now, it is day to day on availability out of both growing regions. 

Also, be prepared, expect to see smaller sizes and higher berry counts per clamshells.

Blueberries are sluggish due to weather conditions out of Mexico and California.  We are also seeing some quality issues.  With cooler weather expected in California, production should ramp up a little, while the Pacific Northwest has begun with their production. Raspberries from our growers in California and Mexico have also been limited.

If you would like more information, please give us a call at the office. We encourage you to call us for day to pricing and availability on all our berries.


Westlake is excited to offer the following organic imports:

– Chilean apples 

– Argentinean Pears 

As the season is just getting started, please call to get more information and pricing! 

Our domestic organics that readily available this week include:

– The lemon supply has remained short, while pricing continues to increase. Please call in advance to pre-book

– Orange Valencias are available and look excellent! We have plenty of supply on the fancy fruit. 

–  Rio Red Grapefruit is eating great, with good acid to sugar ratio.   All sizes are mostly available to ship! 


Westlake is seeing the Northwest Cherry crop to be off to a slow start. Cold weather and rain have caused this season’s crop to be delayed by almost 10 days. With the weather warming up in the growing areas, we should see production begin to ramp up.


The availability and pricing of limes from our growers in Veracruz have remained consistent.  Westlake will continue to ship from this region.  We have a good supply ready for you to buy!

We also have mangoes out of Mexico!  They are readily available and are eating great! 

Varieties include Tommys, Kents, and Ataulfos.  Looking for organic mangos?  We have organic Tommys for you!

Specialty Items:

Yellow dragon fruit is available via air shipment from Ecuador.  We have the product already on hand,  please call for size and pricing!

Florida red dragon fruit has started and is available for air shipment in LA as well. Call now to pre-book!

Vietnam has white and red dragon fruit available via air shipment, but pricing is still in the mid-40s.  Call for pricing and availability.

Young Coconut is available out of Thailand and Vietnam,  but pricing differs based on conditions and quality.

Specialty Melons are available out of the Desert.  Hami Melons are now available! Call to place your orders! 





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