Celebrate National Hot Sauce Day and Support a Great Cause
National Food Days can start to feel like a joke, but today, we’re feeling it: National Hot Sauce Day. In the middle of winter, in the dog days of stews, beans and soups, hot sauce can be that flash of sunny spice that brightens your meal. One way to celebrate: douse all your food in hot sauce today — more than usual. Or, Instagram a pic of your favorite bottle. Extra points if it’s homemade. Or made by someone you love. Or made by young people who grew the peppers themselves, turned them into a fiery elixir, then sold it through a program that helps them learn about being small business entrepreneurs. Oh, hadn’t heard of that? Put down the sriracha and grab a bottle of some local, homemade sauce.
In Camden, New Jersey, students are making a hot sauce — called Kapow! at the Center for Environmental Transformation (CFET), which aims to “create a sustainable, healthy source of fresh fruit and vegetables — through community gardens and a farmers’ market — for an underserved urban community, while offering job training and education with a focus on meeting environmental challenges.” The students do nearly everything from growing the peppers to harvesting them, to whipping up the sauce. Now, you can only buy the sauce in person, so you need to live near CFET at 1729 Ferry Avenue in Camden NJ. They point out that it is best to contact Jon the farmer at email@example.com before coming by.
Or if you’re in or around Cleveland, take note that the Boys & Girls Club sells something called “Local Hotness,” (like Kapow!, this is an excellent name for a hot sauce) made with peppers grown by teens in the program and sold at two local stores called In The 216 and soon at the local grocery called Heinen’s.
You don’t even need to live in or around Atlanta to get your hands on a bottle of Sweet Sol, grown by the young participants in an Atlanta-based program called Gangstas to Growers (part of The Come Up Project). The program’s mission is to reduce recidivism in formerly incarcerated youth by teaching them “progressive holistic life skills,” and providing employment and entrepreneurial opportunities, mostly around agriculture and food. In this case, those skills are planting, growing and harvesting chile peppers, turning them into a delicious sauce (recipe designed by the organization’s founder, Abiodun Henderson), and then marketing to anyone with an internet connection and a credit card. Get yourself a bottle stat.
Know of any delicious hot sauces with a great backstory and you want the world to know? Jump on Twitter and Instagram, share what it is and use the hashtag #hotsaucewithastory