A friend of mine’s family grows a pepper called ’Ulupica’ in their hometown in Bolivia. My friend and I are planning to import this spicy pepper from Bolivia to sell to chileheads in the U.S. Have you heard of "ulupicas"? What do you know about them? We are thinking of packaging them in Bolivia and jarring them in the US. Do you have any contacts who can help us with this? What I know about ’Ulupicas’: I believe the name is an Indian word. Ulupicas are packaged in vinegar. How are they eaten? You just pop them in your mouth. They have the heat, I would say, similar to or hotter than a jalapeno pepper. The people of Bolivia serve Ulupicas on bread and along with a full meal. I look forward to your response, Dave!
The ’Ulupica’ is mostly a wild chile of a different species that the 5 species of domesticated chiles. It is Capsicum cardenasii. It is interesting that people are cultivating them in Bolivia. I’m not sure if jarred ’Ulupicas’ would have a market in the U.S. The closest comparable chile would be the chiltepin, which grows wild in Mexico and is imported into the U.S. in dried red form and pickled in brine or vinegar in the green form. They are sold in the U.S. to Mexican-Americans almost exclusively. The problem with the ’Ulupica’ is that there is no Bolivian-American communities (to my knowledge) to sell them to. So you would have to somehow create a demand for them, which would be a difficult thing to do and probably very expensive. I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but there have been several attempts at promoting South American peppers (ajis and rocotos) in various products, but none has succeeded very well. We have contacts for distributors, as well as advertising methods such as our shows, magazine, and this website. You would have to educate the public about the Ulupica and then convince consumers that they will love the product. Feel free to call me if you would like to discuss this in more detail.