It’s easy to fall in love with Pepplish Provisions hot sauces – just look at the colors and flavors! We sat down with the founder and purveyor of hot sauces, Tim Fraczak to uncover why he started making hot sauces and how he uses them to make a positive impact in his New York community.
What is the story behind Pepplish Provisions?
Seven years ago, all the hot sauces available on the market were either too spicy with no flavor or had great flavor but no spice. I decided to make my own and the Peach Agave Garlic Hot Sauce ended up being my first creation.
The next year, I started growing my own habanero and ghost peppers because they were expensive and hard to get at that time. I grew only 15 peppers my first year, and by the end of my third year, I couldn’t even keep track of how many I had!
What made you decide to start your own business?
Family and friends would always push me to bottle my hot sauces and sell them, but I just passed on the idea. My wife, Gloria, was actually the one who finally convinced me to do it; she is one of the risk averse people I know!
At the time, I wasn’t very happy with my day job, but I was also scared to turn my hobby into a full time gig. My hot sauces were such a huge part of me and it was daunting to put them and myself out there.
Why hot sauce?
Growing up, I’ve always enjoyed eating picked banana peppers and jalapeno peppers straight out of the jar. It wasn’t until college that I found a quality hot sauce I really liked but was super hard to get a hold of. So I thought, why not make my own?
What makes your hot sauces unique?
I love how each hot pepper has its own distinct flavor. Habanero peppers are known for being sweet and citrusy, while ghost peppers have a tinge of smokiness. I make hot sauces that bring out the natural flavors of these two peppers as well as other unique ingredients like apples, blueberry and peach.
How do you make your hot sauces?
I choose a day to make hot sauces from 1am-7am at Entrepreneur Space‘s commercial kitchen whenever I need more. With one session, I can turn up 500-600 bottles on my own. The first time I make them, my hands were burning for 3 days from washing peppers. Now, I make sure to go in with swim goggles and a mask!
Where do you source your ingredients?
I get my ingredients from Baldor Specialty Foods, a company that really cares about the origins of their food. I even went to see the farms myself to make sure the farmers are being fairly treated and compensated. When hot peppers are in season, I source them fresh locally. When they are out of season, I buy the dried ones from the border of Texas and Mexico.
I heard you work with local high schoolers from New York to make your Apple Cilantro Lime Hot Sauce?
John Browne High School in Queens, New York has an amazing agricultural program and I met the teacher was in charge of it. I mentioned to him briefly that I made hot sauce with local peppers, and nine months later, he surprised me with 113 pounds of peppers that his students grew! I wasn’t sure what to do so many peppers but wanted to continue supporting this program, so I came up with the recipe Apple Cilantro Lime Hot Sauce to make use of them.
What are your business values?
I hope to use Pepplish Provisions as a platform to tackle social justice issues in the food industry. From choosing to buy from local farms to using only fair trade certified sweeteners, I want to make sure every decision I make impacts the community in a positive way.