“Vegetables with taste” is what Caroline Pam and Tim Wilcox set out to grow.
After meeting at New York’s Greenmarket, where they both worked as managers, they found themselves doing just that on an acre of land they rented in Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley in 2006. Soon one acre became 50 acres and in 2013, the farmer and his farmer wife figured out a way to bottle those vegetables with taste: home-grown sriracha.
With two of the greenest thumbs around (both spent time on farms in in Italy), a penchant for spice (they host a Chilefest on the farm every year to showcase their 30 odd varieties) and plenty of culinary cred (Caroline studied at the International Culinary Center in New York City and Tim is a self-taught obsessive), they were just the team to refresh the commercially-produced crimson condiment.
One acre of Kitchen Garden’s certified organic farm is devoted to growing the 1,500 pounds of peppers that become one batch of sriracha. (One batch per week for eight to 10 weeks = 12,000 to 15,000 peppers!) Caroline and Tim use the entire, fully-ripened pepper, grinding them with farm-grown garlic, natural cane sugar and salt, and then fermenting the mash for anywhere from four to 10 days. They pass the fermented mash through the food mill, add white vinegar and then heat the saucy goodness until it achieves that addictive yin and yang of sweet and tangy heat.
Even with an annual production of 16,000-plus bottles, Kitchen Garden tends to sell out before the year’s out. Get some while it’s hot.