I started making hot sauce while working at Mt. Home Farm, in Orleans, CA. Located near the confluence of the Klamath and Salmon Rivers, the farm, run by Sarah Post, placed a heavy emphasis on homesteading and seed preservation. The fermented hot sauce that I began making was based on a recipe from Sarah's mother, Liz Hamilton.
While at Mt. Home, I also began cultivating my own variety of chile, which became the Hot Winter Pepper. With my own pepper as the centerpiece, I moved up to Portland to focus on scaling production. In making the move, I began developing relationships with Willamette Valley growers to supply the unique and heirloom chiles that flavor my sauces.
After 5 years of production in Portland, I followed my wife down to Eugene, where she attended graduate school. This move allowed me to return to farming, while also managing production, and I now grow about half of the peppers in my hot sauce. My current plot is a half acre parcel that I lease from Ruby and Amber's Organic Oasis in Dorena. I am also purchasing peppers from Sweet Leaf Organic, Camas Swale, and The Bethel Farm at Kalapuya High School. Our garlic is grown by several friends living around Sequim, WA, where I spent my first summer farming for Nash's Organic Produce.
My goal for Hot Winter is to establish a product that is deliciousness enough to encourage consumers to help support the local farmers who make these flavors possible. By using rare and unique cultivars of chile, I hope to make "organic foods" less abstract for people.
This is not just a substitution for a familiar thing, but grown in a different way-- these are wholly different peppers, that can only exist by working with small scale, regional growers. I am committed to paying fair prices to these growers, to help foster the type of farming that preserves our culinary heritage.