Dear fellow Community Garden Pepper Producers,
Thank you so much for participating in the Small Axe Peppers / Community Garden partnership! For those of you that have participated in the past, welcome back! For those new gardeners, welcome to this very unique project!
Small Axe Peppers empowers community gardens to better serve their surrounding neighborhoods by purchasing peppers directly from their gardens. This means each bottle contains the extraordinary care and commitment you and your fellow gardeners exemplify everyday. This year, 73 community gardens are growing peppers for Small Axe. There are partner gardens in the three most populated cities in America, as well as in every time zone and growing climate, from sea to shining sea. We believe in the model that allows people to support your gardens one bottle at a time. Our community’s strength is in our numbers.
2018 was a very exciting year for Small Axe Peppers. We expanded our community garden partnerships outside of New York City for the first time. Small Axe Peppers purchased 1,893 pounds of peppers from gardens in San Diego, Tucson, Salt Lake City, Sacramento, Charlottesville, and Hartford. This was in addition to more than 1,450 pounds of peppers grown in over 20 community gardens throughout The Bronx and 950 pounds grown in Queens. All gardens participated at levels that worked for them: some gardens grew 4 pounds of peppers; others grew 400. We learned how to ship peppers from all parts of the country, we upgraded our co-packer to increase production and were able to ship the sauce cost effectively to meet the growing demand. In short, 2018 was the year we all collective proved this economic model was viable at a significantly larger scale than could have been imagined.
Based on the operational success in 2018, we had the confidence to take the Small Axe Peppers’ model to new, denser cities. Over the winter, we were lucky enough to meet some incredible community garden partners in cities like Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, Oakland, Seattle and Los Angeles. Each city is either going to grow one of three different types of peppers, depending on their climate. Community gardens will be growing jalapeño peppers in Chicago, serranos in Oakland, and habaneros in Detroit, Baltimore, and Los Angeles. We have had the chance to meet many of you in person and visit your garden. In the event we haven’t visited your garden yet, we have tried to speak on the phone. We believe our hot sauce contains much more than just five ounces. It contains all of your stories and missions, which we want people to learn about and understand.
So this is also a request, please keep the lines of communications open to us. There were surprisingly few hiccups last year. Those that did occur were resolved because of trust and goodwill on both sides. You can email us at email@example.com or call us at 516-456-8267. We will be sending out boxes as well as shipping instructions in the next month or so. Also, we would love to be kept up to date on your growing and harvesting progress. Feel free to share as many photos and pictures as you like. If something interesting happen, or you think of a relevant growing tip, feel free to send it over! We will share with all.
The work you do is inspiring. It makes your neighborhoods better places, and we need more stories like that in the world. We understand the hot sauce is only a small fraction of what you do, but it can serve as the medium to tell other stories. We are always excited to share those stories with as many people as will listen.
We will leave you with this thought. The name Small Axe Peppers comes from an old proverb “if you have a big tree, we have the small axe, ready to chop you down,” By working together, we can all swing our individual small axes together and chop down some of the big problems and issues we are all facing. Thank you for participating and looking forward to productive and fruitful year together
All the best,
Daniel, John, and Chef King