Brooklyn, Step Aside — Food Makers in the Bronx Are Incubating an Artisanal Boom

Here’s a product that’s all about community — literally. Last year, Small Axe Peppers, the partnership behind the Hot Sauce, donated serrano pepper seedlings to 23 community gardens in the Bronx with the agreement that they would buy them back from the growers at market price at harvest time. They made 5,000 bottles of the spicy condiment with the local peppers. Chef King Phojanakong, who is a Bronx Science grad and a nursery school friend of one of the pepper company’s co-founders John Crotty, created the sauce. This year enough seedlings for 30,000 bottles were distributed. Each bottle has deep roots in the area – Crotty is a developer of affordable housing in the Bronx and GrowNYC, the Greenmarket’s parent organization, supports the gardens. A majority of the profits from sales of the sauce will be returned to low income communities in the city. The next step: the team hopes to start selling half-gallon containers of the sauce to restaurants.