I Make Great Hot Sauce. State Regulations Ensure You’ll Never Taste It.

Lincicome hot sauce. (Photo by Scott Lincicome.)

As longtime Capitolism readers probably know, one of the perks of my home gardening fetish is easy access to large quantities of very hot peppers. Back when I started gardening, I quickly discovered that pepper plants are prodigious here in North Carolina. With just a little water and a lot of sun (and deer repellant), a single habanero plant will produce more than 100 peppers from July through the first hard freeze (usually late October). Equip a few whole garden boxes with habaneros, scorpions, ghosts, and other spicy delights, and by early fall you’ll be swimming in capsaicin like Scrooge McDuck swims through gold.

Challenged to creatively dispose of hundreds of peppers each season, I started making hot sauce—for both my personal use and as a Lincicome family Christmas gift for a select group of neighbors and colleagues. Here’s the 2022 batch in progress:

The sauce is, if I do say so myself, pretty excellent—a conclusion many recipients have also confirmed (unsolicited, I promise!). The reviews were so rave, in fact, that they prompted me to daydream of trading in my think tank career for one running a burgeoning hot sauce empire out of my home. On a weekend whim, I even looked into what it would take to start the business—including the regulations governing home-based (“cottage”) food production here in North Carolina. 

Needless to say, I won’t be selling my hot sauce any time soon.

This content is available exclusively to Dispatch members
Try a membership for full access to every newsletter and all of The Dispatch. Support quality, fact-based journalism.
Already a paid member? Sign In
Comments (88)
Join The Dispatch to participate in the comments.
Load More