The third part of our series about Made in New Jersey hot sauces focuses on Hot Sauce 4 Good. It’s small company based in Hillsborough, NJ, which uses peppers hand-picked by their team members from two local farms: Hillsboro Farm & Norz Hill Farm. They only cook and bottle small batches, making sure each product achieves perfect flavor.
Hot Sauce 4 Good was founded by Bob Ferretti, and he uses part of the profits in an unconventional way – by donating to charities that feed the hungry, educate the poor and provide support to entrepreneurs in third world countries. Here’s what Bob has to say about the beginnings of his venture and charity work: “We started making hot sauce about ten years ago when my wife bought a three-bottle kit for my son as a Christmas present. We always grew hot peppers in the garden and this gave us a way to use some of them. We had a lot of fun making the hot sauce but the recipes were not very good – we knew we could do a lot better! We made enough bottles of hot sauce to give it away as Christmas presents and did that for a few years. Soon we were getting lots of requests for the hot sauce and and offers to buy. We had been looking into funding microloans for people in the developing world and thought that using the money we earned from the sale of the hot sauce was a natural fit. Our small business funding other small businesses – perfect!”
We tasted four of these hot sauces, and here are our impressions:
- Lo-Heat-O: A mild sauce with a good flavor, almost mojito-like (maybe because it’s made with mint, lime and pineapple)
- Sublime Cilantro: It was my favorite in this batch. Medium sauce with a great flavor (yeah, I love cilantro). It’s made with jalapeno and lime, and according to their recommendation it’s good for chicken marinade.
- Hot Garlic: It’s hot, but quite plain, I wasn’t impressed with this sauce made of cayenne, habanero and garlic.
- Autumn Spice: This cayenne & habanero sauce is hot AND has a very nice flavor of fall harvest spices. I loved it, a close 2nd favorite and I can’t wait to use it on pulled pork.
The company’s tag line is “Changing the world one bottle at a time” so we asked Bob Ferretti for more details about the charity work.
“We have been working closely with World Vision, a charity that does work in many developing countries by providing long-term solutions in the developing world. World Vision is dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Over the past few years we have been able to fund fifty microloans from the profits of the hot sauce. In addition to World Vision we work with a few local charities including Elijah’s Promise Community Soup Kitchen in New Brunswick, Urban Impact, a charity that works with at-risk teens in the inner cities of NJ and the St. Francis Breadline that feeds the poor in NYC.”
Hot Sauce4Good also has a very close relationship with Rutgers. The founder of the company is very appreciative about Rutgers’ support: “We work with Rutgers University to produce our hot sauce at their Food Innovation Center located in Bridgeton, NJ. The FIC is an incubator facility that is designed not only to help us produce out hot sauce but also to teach and train us on the intricacies of producing a food product. They work with us and help us convert our hot sauce recipes into formulas that we are able to submit for an official ‘scheduled process’ and to the FDA. Rutgers has been invaluable in the support and help they have provided us so far and we are lucky to be able to be working with them.”
You can order their sauces from the website, or find them in Hillsborough restaurants (Big Heads Grill, Sal’s Gourmet Pizza), at Better World Market in Somerset, at the Branchburg and Manville farmer’s markets (in the summer), and at many local events.
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