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Never mind coals to Newcastle ( I'm taking chilli sauce to Mexico!

Byline: By Nick Whitten

His sauces are hot stuff for buyers in the North East.

And now they're even getting South Americans all fired up.

Northumberland farmer Dan May is about to start exporting his chilli sauce to Mexico, the home of the fiery pepper.

Dan, 38, who runs his firm Trees Can't Dance, near Hexham, is the northern-most chilli producer in the world, growing more than 60 different types of chillies.

The four-strong team then turn the chillies into a range of six different sauces, with a seventh set to be launched at the Speciality and Fine Food Fair in Harrogate next week.

Dan's chilli sauces are winning nationwide acclaim with the company supplying to a range of shops across the UK.

And now they are about to crack the chilli's spiritual home after Dan was approached at a recent fine food fair in London about supplying to a major Mexican supermarket chain.

He said: "I used to be a photographer travelling all over the world. I used to gather all sorts of recipes, but often found I couldn't reproduce them back here due to a lack of ingredients. So I started growing chillies as a hobby to make some sauces and I quickly won fans with people wanting to buy the sauces.

"We now supply all over the country and we are in talks with several of the major supermarket chains including supplying major Mexican stores."

The chillies at Trees Can't Dance are grown from seed with the cropping season running from July through until as late as Christmas.

The company produces about 2,000 bottles of chilli sauce a week, but they are hoping to up production to 5,000 bottles a week, a move which would create several jobs.

Dan said: "As a company we are definitely growing at a remarkable rate. In some ways it seems funny that we are in line to supply to Mexico, but it is a natural market for us.

"Mexico is one of the world's biggest chilli markets and we are producing a quality chilli product so it makes sense for us to sell there."

Dan's decision to start growing chillies was the result of extensive travel through America, where he realised how easy the chilli crop was to cultivate. Realising there was a gap in the market, Dan started growing chillies on his farm in 2005.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 14, 2007
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