Hot Mama Salsa
“Craving the flavors of home.”
That’s how it all started for Nikki Guerrero upon moving to the Pacific Northwest in 1999. Raised in the southwest, she longed for the fresh Mexican flavors she knew so well: bright salsas, corn tamales, and the handmade flour tortillas she loved making with her grandmother. But after finding only one fresh salsa company in Portland, she saw an opening to shine a light on these cherished flavors using fresh ingredients from local farms.
Nikki’s dream started to take shape at the Cherry Sprout Produce Market, where she worked with an old friend from Arizona to put fresh chips and salsa on the shelves—just like back home. In those early days, she was able to work out of a neighbor bar’s kitchen in the mornings to produce her fresh salsas, and on May 23, 2008, she introduced Hot Mama Salsa to the city.
Over the years, the recipes have evolved. Portland palates might not have been ready for the spicy heat at the start, but as Nikki’s operation has grown, so has her audience. She took a big leap after partnering with local farmer Grey Horton, who began growing chiles de arbol, guajillos, mild jalapenos, serranos, and fresnos, all right here in Portland. This allowed Nikki to truly harness the freshness she craved, and since then, she and Grey have continued their partnership, experimenting with new chilis and recipes from around the world to introduce new flavors into the product line.
Among Nikki’s amazing products are the head-turning chili oils she launched in 2014. These earthy, nutty condiments can be enjoyed with traditional posole, tacos, or fresh chips and salsa. If you’re looking to kick it up a notch at your next taco night, we encourage you to add a jar of Chili de Arbol Chili Oil or Smoky Coffee Chili Oil to your order today!