Brian - I've had the pleasure of meeting Fiona and Cheyne this year at the Portland Hot Sauce Expo and at Chiliefest in Western Massachusetts. They are wonderful people and a delicious range of sauces. You can try Fraktured hot sauces in the Craft Hot Sauce Shop. Thanks for sharing your story Fiona and Cheyne!
Our hot sauce journey was long in the making. The Geverd family had been playing with hot sauce recipes for a few years with the idea of someday producing commercially. The stars aligned when the family bought an old German farmhouse that came with a sizable acreage that had been used for conventional ag. Around the same time Cheyne Geverd made a decision to pivot his career from doing geological work for oil companies overseas to being a farmer. He took seasonal jobs with local produce farms to learn the skills, and at one of these farms met Fiona Palumbo, his eventual partner, whose background also included cooking and (very small scale) hot sauce making.
Pa Geverd had been trialing several production methods, and we settled on the long-aged mash style of sauce. The primary advantage of this method is that the harvested peppers can be made shelf-stable right away as mash, which can then be pulled as needed for the production of the final sauces. The other really big selling point of the aged mash is the TREMENDOUS FLAVOR! The fermentation process breaks down the fruit and brings out deep and savory flavors that can’t be achieved any other way. With this method, there is also no need for additional gums or thickeners or artificial flavoring.
Using the aged mash we developed a couple of recipes that went through a lengthy and rigorous friends and family taste-testing process. Our final Haunted Harvest sauce was the launching pad for the business in late 2018, and it has proven to be a real winner with the public and with hot sauce judges (so far our Haunted Harvest with Ghost Pepper sauce has won a second-place Screaming Mimi, and a second-place Scovie). We have since added new flavors and are constantly trialing new peppers and methods, and have some new products in the works.
Sauce making and farming go hand-in-hand for us, and while our demand has outstripped our production capacity so that we have to buy some peppers in, we are committed to the seed-to-sauce model and lifestyle. Growing our own gives us an immediate and hands-on familiarity with our product, and allows for the exploration of varieties and additional ingredients. We are also believers in the quality of life benefits that come from immediate contact with our land and with nature. We strive to farm in a way that is beneficial to our local environment, and we hope to find ways in the future to share our land and our experience with others.
The bulk of our exposure in the first year of sales has been through shows and events in our local radius, as well as through hot sauce specific shows further afield (New York, Chicago, Portland, Massachusetts, New Jersey). Because we do all the work (growing, production, sales, shipping) ourselves our challenge of the moment is finding the time to make more wholesale connections. We’d love for our sauce to be reliably available in the areas where we do sales events, so that we can point prospective and future customers directly to local businesses. We love to see the growing interest in spicy foods, and are excited to be a part of this creative and delicious industry.