Mama Lil's goathorn peppers

Mama Lil’s and Zeeks

Many moons ago, Zeeks set out on a search to spice up our flavors.

We didn’t have to look much further than the CD, where we found Howard, a passionate pickled pepper purveyor who originally sold the peppers out of a church basement. He grew up in the Midwest eating the peppers his mom would grow and then preserve for the entire year — a family recipe handed down through the generations. They’d have a jar of peppers sitting on top of the table at all times. When it was pizza night, they’d pull out a pepper, a pair of scissors, and then snip peppers onto their pie. Life was good. Well, our passionate pickled pepper purveyor moved out West, ate through his supply of homegrown peppers and life was no longer good.

On a trip out to the Yakima valley years later, Howard noticed the same peppers, he coined them hungarian goathorn peppers, and used them to re-create his mom’s recipe. These peppers like warm temperature in the day and cool temperatures at night…no place could be better than the Yakima valley for this. (As we’ve mentioned before, Yakima is also the best place in the world for hops…check out some of our killer collab beer partners in Yakima like Single Hill, Bale Breaker, or Varietal!). He started his own company, named it Mama Lil’s in homage to his mother, and he was off and running.

We unveiled the Cherry Bomb pizza to feature these kick-ass peppers and blew through the inventory of peppers we had on stock. We found out that we’d have to wait until the next harvest to get more and were crushed. These peppers swooped in and changed our lives and left just as abruptly. Sure enough, the peppers came back and there were more farmers in the Yakima area growing them. Supply has been steady ever since. To this day, nearly every pepper from Mama Lil’s is grown in the Yakima valley.

After pushing peppers for long enough (nearly 30 years!), it was time to hang up the spurs and sell the company, which is when a small family-owned company Pacific Specialty Foods stepped in. They are great partners of ours and 100% of their line-up is dedicated to Mama Lil’s products. We look forward to peppering our pies with them for years to come.


— Greg