Jorge and Julie of Layana Sa Pika Este talk about their Chamorro background, and how the "Boonie Pepper" from Guam presented some challenges, but big oppurtunities from being the only ones in the states making and selling this type of Chilli paste.
We are a husband, wife and kids team working towards growing our home nursery business into a self-sustaining hot pepper paste food manufacturer located in Hillsboro, Oregon. Chamorro by marriage, we started our small online business by growing and selling live Guam boonie pepper plants, which are very hard to come by in the mainland. After many challenging attempts to grow these peppers in the short Oregon season, we were finally successful in growing our bonnie pepper plants.
This pepper plant exclusively grows on the Island of Guam, and is becoming a hit for many. Known on the island of Guam as Donne Sali, the “Boonie Pepper” is a small, bright red, and pungent fruit used in the sauces that compliment many traditional Chamorro dishes. These peppers have been growing in Guam since the time of the Spanish arrival in the Mariana Island, and can be found today in both backyard gardens as well as the wild. Legend has it that the earliest plants were originally spread from Guam to the nearby islands by the Sali, a local bird that feeds on their seeds.
On the island we call the fermented hot pepper paste “Donne Dinanche” the word Donne is the name of the pepper and dinanche is the style of preparation. Most islanders use the basics garlic, salt and hot peppers mashed into a paste which is used as a condiment for many of their dishes. Everyone on the island has their own taste by adding other vegetable or herbs but since creating our own we’ve had a good response to our paste. We sell our pepper paste commercially on etsy.
We at Layna Sa Pika Este strive to continue this movement, spreading the Boonie Pepper to new taste buds and locations while connecting them to its uniquely Chamorro heritage. Our recipe begins with using peppers grown from the highest-quality seeds that are then aged to achieve a unique flavor and complexity. We are pleased to offer the one and only Donne Sali hot pepper paste to you and the community in Oregon.
Our company name is Layna Sa Pika Este which means this shit is hot in Chamorro!