Perhaps you've noticed the bearded man sitting at the northern end ofthe Fort Greene Farmer's Market, a respectful distance from the "legal" merchants, these past two Saturdays. Perhaps, like me, you at first didn't wander over to see what he was hawking in case it was, say, a self-published novel or something equally scary. But hopefully curiosity (or, in my case, a curious husband) won out, and you walked over. Cause if you didn't, you missed out on this:
Homemade, limited-edition, organic hot sauce, brewed right under our noses on Hall Street by local artist Matt Miller.
Matt moved to Clinton Hill in August 2000, to attend grad school at Pratt, and has been making hot sauce for the past three summers from peppers that he grows himself. He began with a small batch of only 94 bottles - made with peppers grown from seeds from "crappy Associated scotch bonnet peppers" - which he gave to family and friends and sold at work. He now makes two or three different small batches a year. Starting with a "general idea of the basics of how a hot sauce is made", he trawled web sites to see what other hot sauce brewers were up to, and eventually settled on his own formula. He wanted his sauce to be "natural, and made with high-quality ingredients". Matt, who names El Yucateo and Cholula as among his favorite commercial hot sauces, works mainly on his own, aided and supported by his girlfriend, family, friends, and "a team of Oompa Loompas (for Packaging and Quality Control)."
To come up with a name and logo for his creation, Matt explains, "First I thought of the hottest object in the universe, and then translated it into Flanders-speak. Next I photographed a sculpture I made from some peppers I grew, to get the logo. I guess I wanted people to get a chuckle out of the packaging too."
Matt had two varieties of hot sauce for sale the weekend that I ran into him at the Market. One was lighter, with a citrus flavor, and one was smokier and a bit spicier. Both are excellent - they have tons of flavor, not just heat. Devil's Doodad will keep for up to a year in the fridge.
Will the Devil's Doodad empire expand? Matt says it mainly depends on how his pepper crop does each year. At this point he only sells his sauce at the Fort Greene Farmer's Market and at his job, and doesn't turn a profit, though he breaks even.
Matt will likely be at the Farmer's Market again this Saturday, though he says his supplies are running low.... So get there early if you want the Doodad! You can also send him an email, with "hot sauce" in the subject line if you would like to reserve a bottle or get on the hot sauce mailing list that he is setting up.
This post contributed by hey mama.