Posted October 23, 2005 by Nick Lindauer in Hot Sauce News

Columbia Couple Heats Up Hot Sauce Industry

From: (Columbia) – See the video here.

In a small garden on Trenholm Road, you’ll find bright reds and yellows and a few dark greens – some pretty plants with a very potent pop.

“They are dangerous hot,” says Mark Riffle with a grin.

Which, by the way, is how he and his wife Julie like it. From Mark’s pepper shirt to Julie’s kitchen decor, they say they always liked a little spice, but an unusual gift is what really warmed them up.

“Well, it really started when a friend of mine gave me a bunch of pepper plants,” Mark remembers, “We had about 60 plants.”

Without hesitating, Mark and Julie started planting, putting pepper plants pretty much everywhere and – without knowing it – watching a plan literally start to grow.

“We just started combining different ingredients and coming up with something that really tasted good,” explains Mark.

Adds Julie, “Anything that our neighbors had that was ripening, we would make hot sauce out of.”

Eventually, they found the right blend, not once, not twice, but three times with flavors they named Daily Red, Molten Golden and Larynx Lava – unique tastes that caught on like fire among their friends.

“We just got to the point where everybody said, ‘This stuff is so tasty, you really ought to try and sell it,'” Mark says.

And so began Palmetto Pepper Potions, the Riffle’s very own hot sauce company. At just one year old, it’s already won three industry awards, including a coveted Scovie – the Academy Award of hot sauce awards.

“Every once and awhile, we’ll be somewhere and someone will be like, ‘Where do I know you from? Aren’t you the hot sauce guy?'” says Mark with a grin.

Actually, they’re a couple of scorching specialists on a pursuit of pepper perfection.

The Riffle’s sauces are sold at several local stores including The Fresh Market and Rosewood Market in Columbia, as well as The Farmer’s Shed in Lexington.

For a complete list of locations and how you can order online, click on the link at the top of this page.

Nick Lindauer

The Original Hot Sauce Blog