Tim and Caroline joined the Craft Hot Sauce Podcast in the beginning of 2021 and also wrote more about their company story in 2018.
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Maker Story written by Caroline Pam in 2018
Who are we?
The Kitchen Garden is a 45-acre organic specialty vegetable farm located in Sunderland, Massachusetts. Tim Wilcox and Caroline Pam started the farm in 2006 after meeting at the Union Square Greenmarket in New York City in 2003, where they both worked as market managers. Inspired by the quality and variety of produce on offer in New York City, and by their time working on farms in Italy, they have built one of the top organic produce farms supplying farmers markets, restaurants and stores in western Massachusetts. They have also recently expanded their distribution to include Boston and New York City.
Our move into sauce
Since 2012, The Kitchen Garden has hosted an annual farm festival, Chilifest, as a showcase for the more than 30 different types of chilies grown on the farm, and as a community event around spicy food, local beer and live music. In 2013 Tim began making sriracha sauce to sell at the festival on a small scale, based on 100 lbs of chilies per batch. The sauce was wildly successful. The following year the farm got the necessary licenses to sell the sauce wholesale, producing about 400 cases of sauce in 2014, which sold out in 6 months. The farm has dramatically expanded production of chili peppers and now produces about 1 acre of hot peppers for the sauce as well as wholesale sales and specialty peppers to show at the festival.
The sriracha sauce itself: Kitchen Garden Sriracha is made from certified organic peppers grown on our vegetable farm. We make three varieties: the original is made from red chili peppers (a blend of cayenne, paprika, and cherry bomb types) grown on the farm. A hotter, habanero version is made of a blend of habanero peppers and sweet orange bell peppers, also grown on the farm. We also make a limited edition ghost pepper version from a blend of super hot chilies without any sweet peppers – we are already sold out of the 2015 batch. The other ingredients in all our sriracha varieties are organic white vinegar, natural cane sugar, organic garlic, salt and xanthan gum. The peppers and garlic are fermented naturally for 7 days before being puréed, cooked with vinegar and hot packed in plastic bottles with foam-lined squeeze tops. The sauce is made by farmer Tim Wilcox at the Western Mass Food Processing Center in Greenfield, MA. Batch size is based on 1500 lbs of peppers. We produced 1300 cases of 12 8 oz bottles in 2015. Our hot sauce is shelf stable and has a shelf life of 1 year.
Final Thought on Chili Peppers
Chili peppers are an essential ingredient in so many cuisines around the world and the different species offer a window into other cultures.