Sometimes a simple question can be all that is needed to spur a creative idea, and Brett Kaminski, creator of Dude Where’s My Sauce? knows this all too well.
In Kaminski’s case, it was his daughter, who was 4 years old at the time, that posed the question of how plants grow, and next thing he knew he was making hot sauces.
“So, I sprouted a couple of tomato plants, a couple basil plants and a couple pepper plants,” Kaminski said. “It was nothing too special, just some poinsettia peppers and Tabasco peppers. I think I had one datil at the time, because they’re notoriously hard to sprout.”
The answer to the question quickly began to sprout itself and turned into a COVID-19 hobby that has continued to grow in recent years with pepper plants becoming the focus of what is grown.
Around Christmas 2021 was the first time he had a bunch of extra peppers that he wasn’t sure what to do with, so he made a bunch of hot sauces and gave them away to friends and family and sold about 50 bottles through the “Handmade in Nocatee” Facebook group.
“I had people beating down my door looking for more and saying that it was great,” Kaminski said. “I knew it was something I wanted to keep doing, but I had no idea how many peppers I would need to produce for x-amount of bottles.”
Last year, his goal was to plant as many seeds as he could and then find out how much each one produces, and he also wound up developing a partnership with the Home Garden Data Project, which is an initiative attempting to aggregate that type of info for people in general.
According to Kaminski, it has been a continuous learning process especially when it comes to the cottage foods laws in place in Florida.
As a result, his sauces are infused with vinegar which serves as the base that the peppers are mixed into.
He did two major bottlings last year, which were called Datil Work and Mellow Mushroom Mountaineer.
The Mellow Mushroom Mountaineer contained Jamaican Mushroom peppers, which he has replaced this year with Scotch bonnets, which he found out were much more popular.
“I think I did about 220 bottles total, and they are all done seed to bottle and organic,” Kaminski said. “The only thing I didn’t do myself is the artwork on the bottles.”
He also hopes to have more exotic hot peppers that he can sell at local farmers markets.
“I’m hoping clear about 500 pounds of fresh produce,” Kaminski said. “I had 45 plants last year and this year there will be 75.”
Part of the growth of the passion project is that he is now exploring the process of breeding his own pepper varieties now, including a datil pepper crossed with a peach ghost pepper.
“It just got way out of hand pretty quick,” Kaminski chuckled. “I’ve had some cool ideas that have come to me so I just figured if this is going to keep going, I might as well. That is really a multi-year process of refining the genetics.”
Now a couple of years into making his own sauces and his daughter now has a good understanding of how plants grow and she still comes out to help tend to the garden at times along with his soon-to-be 3-year-old son.
The best way to purchase either of the hot sauces is to go to dudewheresmysauce.com.
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