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update on my quest to go professional

Posted by judo_and_peppers Tampa FL (My Page) on
Mon, Aug 4, 14 at 0:20

so after spending the summer doing lots of paperwork to write a business plan, and making lots and lots of test batches to dial in my recipes to EXACTLY where I want them, as of yesterday I secured funding for my project.

sending in my paperwork (and samples) for process approval this week. gonna begin selling them legitimately very soon.

I have 7 sauce recipes that I will be submitting, because there's a discount for process approval getting them all done at once (something to the tune of about 5k savings). I have what appears to be an excellent salsa recipe that I will be selling (jars of salsa, not the recipe) soon.

I am not posting to try to advertise, I'm just trying to keep you guys updated, as it wouldn't be possible without what I learned here.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: update on my quest to go professional

Congratulations Judo! Wow 5k, that’s a lot of hot sauce lol.


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RE: update on my quest to go professional

  • Posted by jutsFL 9b (Orlando) (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 4, 14 at 8:40

Very nice Judo, I hope the rest all proceeds smoothly for ya!

Jay


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RE: update on my quest to go professional

Congratulations! I can't wait to try judo brand pepper sauce! :)

Angie


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RE: update on my quest to go professional

Great job. I wish I could do the same but I guess I'm still a rookie at all of this. Also can't wait to try your stuff!


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RE: update on my quest to go professional

Congrats!

Josh


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Nice to see someone achieve a dream. Hopefully you'll be extremely successful! Please keep us updated.

Tim


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Jason - That's great!! When do you think you'll be officially in production.

Sandy


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  • Posted by esox07 4b Wisconsin (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 4, 14 at 19:21

Looking forward to seeing your label in the local super market in the near future.
Good luck,
Bruce


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That's awesome, congratulations!

Where is the production going to be done? I don't want the name, I mean, what kind of place does it get done at (size, equipment, etc.)? I'm asking b/c I'm interested in how this works and what you are doing. Am very impressed, and look forward to buying a few bottles.

Alex


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the sauce is being made in a restaurant, because it has to be done in a commercial kitchen. the owner is building a separate area in the kitchen so I can make sauce all day without getting in the way of his cooking (his kitchen is enormous, and he only uses a small portion of it himself). I am paying him a small percent of profits for use of space and utilities, etc.. he sees it as him investing in my company too, because he sees great potential in my sauces, and wants to be a part of the action.

for me it's great, because doing it that way, after the many costs of starting up, almost all my expenses are a function of sales, I have almost no fixed costs that must be paid every month, which makes it a lot easier starting out.

what do you guys think of this as my logo? I need a new font for the company name, as this one doesn't catch enough attention, but I haven't changed it yet because I can't seem to find one I like. my wife did the picture, I'm not that artistic.


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I think the logo design is cute. :)

I'm not totally enthusiastic about the beard though. It looks a little bit unreal. Like a fake beard someone is wearing. And instead of a beaker, would a hot sauce bottle be better? To me, the beaker kind of suggests chemistry rather than cooking.


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well, the beard is supposed to be on fire. I do have a real beard, though it's been a long time since it caught on fire (has happened though). a good hot sauce should light your face on fire anyway.

and I am of the belief that making a good hot sauce is more chemistry than cooking (and when you get right down to it, all cooking is really just chemistry). plus I'm quite a nerd, so it seemed appropriate.

one thing I was thinking about doing was getting rid of the red shirt, and having me wearing a judo gi, just to cover all the bases.


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well, the beard is supposed to be on fire. I do have a real beard, though it's been a long time since it caught on fire (has happened though). a good hot sauce should light your face on fire anyway.
&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

Reading this makes me so incredibly thankful that I do not have a beard. :)

Fortunately my face is non-flammable. :)

A judo gi might be cute. But black and white might both offer poor contrast with the background and with your skin respectively. It might work though.


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Congrats Jason! Very competitive business... hope you make it big!

Kevin


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I agree about the beaker - though I guess it fits with "fusion" (nuclear??). Definitely keep the beard.

Glad the processes are all approved, good to get all the approvals out of the way. Next thing is to submit samples for pH testing, then you're in business, right?


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I like the fiery beard, but I think overall some of the details will be lost in the final label artwork. The color of the lips doesn't seem quite right to me, personally. Not sure if the mushroom cloud in the beaker reinforces or advances the "gourmet" concept.

Josh


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I too like the logo design, but I think it might be too subtle for a small bottle label - especially the burning beard (which is my favorite part). In a smaller size you won't be able to tell that it's not just an oddly drawn beard without close inspection.

The Erlenmeyer flask doesn't work for me - looks too much like you're doing a chemistry experiment. Use a hot sauce bottle, even if it has to be out of scale large to be recognized. And re-draw the mushroom cloud. Make it tall and skinny and less yellow.

For the "Jason's...", consider an "atomic" font. I recall there were several used in the 60s but can't find the exact one.. Look at Hyperion Sunset, Planet, and others from the science fiction section of fontpalace.

Also (not necessarily from fontpalace) Badpalace, Beautiful, Boohoo, Calling Dr Luv, Catatonic, Conspiracy, Cookies, Def Writer, Diner, Dominatrix (yep, it's a real font, though probably too busy for your purposes), Eastend, Elevator, Foxy, Genie, God of Thunder, Groovy, Guttural (for Deathklok fans), Hang 'Em, High Head Blues, Ironman, Jerry's Game, LHF Esoteric Old, LHF Crouching Tiger (several LHF actually), Lunacy, SamSpade, Shadow, Showcard Gothic, Sushi Queen, Sweet Pain.

Keep going!
Dennis


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cooltext.com has a font you can download called Phoenix that I think would be a good match.


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looks like I've got a lot of updating to do to the image.

apparently nobody likes the Erlenmeyer flask, except for me and my wife. so that might need to change (ironically I posed for the picture holding a bottle of sauce, and she changed it to the flask)

and I've been playing with the fonts. I found one I kinda like, and of course, my wife hates it.

however there's one exciting update, it is now Jason's Fire Fusions, LLC. I'm a real company now! that's a step in the right direction.


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For what its worth, I like the Erlenmeyer flask, but I'm also a nerd. It's like your a mad scientist. If I had to make one suggestion it would be to have something on the bottle about the heat. "Made with some of the hottest peppers in the world" something like that. Let us know that it's not the typical non "hot sauce" and seperate it from everything else on the shelf. Could even put a little something about where and how the peppers are grown .... Right in my back yard. People love that stuff. Good luck can't wait to try a bottle!


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People do not want something brewed from chemicals. The flask suggests that your sauce is.

As for the rest of the bottle labeling, the first thing a prospective buyer looks for is "How hot is it?". Then they look for "Why this one instead of the one next to it?" (which includes price). You have to answer those questions. Then after the buyer has made his choice your logo will be a visual icon so that he can identify it a second time. (Also for discussion and entertainment at home, later.)

So what font do you like? And why does your wife hate it?

Dennis


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This may be obvious, but it wasn't to my boss when he designed our logo. Be sure to look at it true to size. Details get lost and mush together. On something the size of a sauce bottle simpler may be better.

I do like it though!

Alison


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How about you holding a pepper - something gnarly looking like a bhut or scorpion? That way people can tell it's made with natural superhot peppers and not "chemicals" as suggested by the flask?

For a small label/bottle, maybe just "zoom in" on your face and thumbs up (if it fits)? That way detail of beard won't be lost - and anything you're holding would probably be too small to see on a hot sauce bottle label.

This post was edited by ajsmama on Thu, Aug 7, 14 at 20:29


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What about eliminating the beaker/bottle entirely and just having the thumbs up, smiley image instead? That would remove a detail that could get lost when the image shrinks to the size of a label, but still convey that this sauce is a great experience. The burning beard would still signal that it is hot.

I don't know. Just an idea.

Angie


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this is what the unrevised image looks like on the bottle. you don't lose nearly as much detail as you'd think.

and yes, that is a bright white hot sauce. it's made out of coconut, and white 7pot peppers.


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"Hot Coconut" ?!!

Wow. That ought to move!

Dennis


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Judo, the hot coconut sauce looks really interesting. I would probably buy it just out of curiosity.

But I would really prefer to see a pretty hula girl in a coconut bra with her grass skirt catching on fire instead of the bearded guy. ;)

This post was edited by mecdave on Sat, Aug 16, 14 at 18:49


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Good logo's all. However I like simplicity, like "VAT 69" on a liquor bottle.
Maybe just "HOT SAUCE" in plain B&W, with the type in small letters so a prospective customer will HAVE to pick it up to read it, and the back. You got'em when they pick it up.
Go cruise a liquor store and look at the high $$ vinos and liquor bottles. Simplicity sells...


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Is your sauce labeling covered by FDA requirements for a statement of ingredients and nutritional analysis? That could get expensive.

Dennis


P.S. Especially when one factors in the EPA and BATFE regulations covering dangerous chemicals and weaponized fruit.


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the coconut flavor didn't come thru as strongly as I'd hoped it would. I used justa little bit of lime juice, and that completely overpowered it. oh well, it was an experiment. the next batch will be better. the white 7 isn't the most productive pepper in the garden by a long shot, so it'll be a while before I have enough to make it again. and it's not exactly a commonly available pepper in supermarkets.

I do have to list ingredients, and get nutrition labels. and yes, it is expensive.

holy crap this process is taking longer than I'd ever thought it would. so much paperwork! it's insane.


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I'd like to try some of your sauces eventually. Will you be doing mail orders in the future?


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holy crap this process is taking longer than I'd ever thought it would. so much paperwork! it's insane.

I found this interesting about a start up.> Texas Creek Hot Sauce.


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I'd like some of the seeds off the white 7, if poss.


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if I can get my plant to put out some more pods I'll happily send some your way. with our 100 degree temps, and a massive whitefly infestation, it might be a while. I made the mistake of assuming that since the plant WAS being productive before, I'd be able to get more seeds later. god I am so good at putting my foot in my mouth.


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my samples for process approval go in the mail tomorrow. I also take the food safety certification test tomorrow. my labels are almost done, this show is about to get on the road. hopefully I'm gonna be making a lot of sauce soon. ...and maybe even selling some of it.


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my samples for process approval go in the mail tomorrow

I also take the food safety certification test tomorrow.

my labels are almost done,

this show is about to get on the road.

and maybe even selling some of it.

hopefully I'm gonna be making a lot of sauce soon.


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"Hello boys. You miss me?"


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RE: update on my quest to go professional

So I've finally finished the logo image. new font, changed the beaker to a hot sauce bottle, changed a few other things too. let me know what you think.


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Looks great! Wouldn't change a thing. That's something that'd catch my eye, and I'd pick up in the store. Awesome job, man. Best of luck! How many different varieties of sauce are you putting out?

Mike


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currently I am only putting out 5 varieties. I figured I'd start with the best sellers. the ones I'm currently releasing are:
1. the "mild" one - made with green habaneros and a lot of herbs and garlic
2. pirate's ghost - hickory roasted/smoked ghost peppers and rum (with lots of other flavors in there too)
3. chocolate scorpion - choc scorp peppers, and a little bit of actual chocolate
4. spontaneous combustion - a sauce much hotter than the previous ones, with a lot of spices and garlic for a ton of flavor
5. instant death - I just tried to make a ridiculously hot sauce, and it ended up being pretty tasty too.

I've got about 15 more flavors that I'd like to release soon too, not including the spicy jams and salsas.


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Much better exploding bottle. I like the logo font too.

See if you can get distribution here in N Tx so I can gets my hands on some!

Good luck,
Dennis


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Don't know if you'll run into trademark problems with the "spontaneous combustion" name, since there is a widely-available hot sauce that uses that name and has been around for years:
http://www.amazon.com/Spontaneous-Combustion-SPONTANEOUS-COMBUSTION-SAUCE/dp/B000G6TNS8


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I did a trademark search on all my flavor names. nothing came up.

Dennis, email me.


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I believe there is an instant death sauce out there too.I believe it is called Blair's Instant Death sauce. Look it up on Amazon. Also, try to get some distribution in Socal.


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You were going to send some sauce my way last year. It didn't work out, so do I get first dibbs on samples? :)

Tim


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I believe Blair's is actually "sudden death." I'm sure there has to be other ones out there called instant death though. there's only so many names one can come up with for a hot sauce that aren't taken.

Tim, I remembered that not too long ago. my apologies. my plan was to surprise you with some samples. I guess it won't be a surprise anymore. feel free to refresh my memory of your mailing address.

This post was edited by judo_and_peppers on Fri, Sep 5, 14 at 21:35


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It might be very worthwhile to consult an attorney about the naming issues, if you haven't already. A lot of these hot sauces are made by small specialty businesses that might not be as up to speed on registering trademarks as a big company like the McIlhenny Company is. But they still may be able to claim some common law protections on their name. A trademark attorney would probably be able to sort that out quite quickly.

It would be a shame if you got off to a good start, started to build a reputation for yourself, and then had to change the name of a sauce because it was the same or very close to another sauce's name. It could also create problems down the line where your sauce was frequently confused with a (vastly inferior) competitor's product or where a merchant might be reluctant to sell two sauces that are easily mistaken for one another by the same name. Just imagine calling a potential customer and trying to sell them on Spontaneous Combustion, only to be told they already sell it--just not yours!

Names are a really big deal in business.

And I still want to try some of these fire fusions. I'm really curious about some and a little skeptical of some. But they all sound incredibly unique and creative! If you want to provide some free samples, I'd review them on my blog, which has all of 3 followers. :)

Angie


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Yes, Angie.
But a prefix like "Jason's " should take care of a lot of trade mark issues. How many JASONs are there getting professional, making and selling hot sauce ? LOL


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Yes, Angie.
But a prefix like "Jason's " should take care of a lot of trade mark issues. How many JASONs are there getting professional, making and selling hot sauce ? LOL

&&&&&&&&&&&&

Ummmmm....no. First of all, Jason is not being used as part of the name of any sauce. It is the brand name of the sauce's maker. Jason's Fire Fusions is making a sauce called "Spontaneous Combustion." Southwest Specialty Food, Inc. also makes a sauce called "Spontaneous Combustion." The point is that both sauces are called the same thing. The fact that they are made by different companies is the problem, not a solution to the problem.

Even if he changed the name of the sauce to "Jason's Spontaneous Combustion," he'd still run the risk of it being confusingly similar to "Spontaneous Combustion" and therefore still violating the rights to the name "Spontaneous Combustion" held by Southwest Specialty Food, Inc.

I'm not a trademark lawyer; I've only practiced in other areas of business law, so I would not presume to give any legal advice about this. But a decent lawyer who practices in this area should know whether this really is an issue and could probably explain it right off the top of her head. So consulting one could prove very helpful and avoid some problems down the line. An ounce of prevention and all that. :)

Angie


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IIRC, trademark is generally restricted by region - to the region in which the product is marketed. Thus there can be a 'Flo's Hot Pies' in Georgia and another in Colorado that don't conflict. It seems a bit foreign in this new info-everywhere world, and the law may eventually change. But you don't need to dodge all names - only the ones that are marketed in your area.

Now if you plan to go national, get your registrations in.

Dennis

P.S. IANAL, but I play one on GW.


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opening inspection scheduled for tomorrow! holy crap this has taken way too long!


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What are you opening? The kitchen?


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LOL @ how naive I was to think this thing was almost finished. I got a call back from my inspector telling me I've got more s#!+ to do. I now understand why so many opt for the co-bottler.


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What is there left to do? Your processes are approved, the kitchen is a commercial kitchen already in operation (with regular inspections), I can't think of any inspections that would need to be done (though I haven't gone through this myself). All I would think would have to be done is to make 1 batch of each recipe and get them pH tested by a lab?


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first I was told step one is get the kitchen inspection, and THEN file with the FDA. I waited 2 weeks after I sent in the inspection application (they got a polite phone call after a week, and a very irate one today). finally I got ahold of someone. they told me they'd be able to come out tomorrow to do the inspection. this was the point at which I made my first post of the day in this thread. then I got a call back saying quite the opposite, by an inspector who admittedly didn't know much about acidified foods related inspections (I don't blame her for anything, she was the most helpful person I dealt with all day). I was given a phone number to a guy who actually knew about these things. he then told me that I had to file with the FDA first, and that despite what I was told by THEIR website, servsafe is not valid for what I'm doing, and I need to do Better process control school. this is turning into a nightmare, but now I know the end of this portion is in sight.


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Old book but still funny, "Free Enterprise Patriot".


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This is just a sample of government bureaucracy.
In my opinion, those guys in this business of food safety inspection and certification are a bunch of (blanky blank).
But then there is no choice but to deal with them.


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Hang in there . . . good luck. I like the logo, like the red shirt and fiery beard and the beaker in hand. Cooking is chemistry. I'd probably do better if I'd taken chemistry . . . but I love to read about the chemistry of baking. It's nice to hear about someone starting up their own business, as I've thought about it myself. Right now, I'll just stick to trying to start up my Etsy shop!


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Sorry for the hassle. I still don't get the "acidified food kitchen inspection" (?), AFAIK they just inspect for basic cleanliness and proper food storage temps. It's not like you have retorts that need to have pressure/temp gauges calibrated.

FDA registration (I don't know if before/after kitchen inspection) is required, that would be after BPCS but FDA only gets involved in interstate commerce. Were you told by the state that ServSafe was fine for in-state sales only? That's the way CT's Pickle Law is written Servsafe is fine. The actual language is:

"the preparer of such foods (A) possesses documentation of such preparer's successful completion of an examination concerning safe food handling techniques administered by an organization approved by the Department of Public Health for qualified food operators, or possesses documentation indicating successful completion of an approved course concerning safe food processing techniques administered by an organization approved by the Department of Consumer Protection,"

and the DCP initially said Servsafe qualified but then was trying to push residential farmers to take the BPCS (they were going to run another session a couple of weeks ago but it was canceled due to low registration numbers - I guess all the farmers who want to sell acidified foods have decided it's easier to just do ServSafe).

Now, for commercial sales (I only have experience in exempt products made in the farm kitchen and sold only on-site or at farmer's market, no wholesale to stores allowed), there are different requirements. I guess you're going more the "specialty foods" small commercial processor route?

But you ARE growing the peppers yourself, aren't you? CT's laws are very strange, farmers with commercial kitchens are allowed to buy in fruits rather than restricted to using their own, and they are allowed to wholesale jams and jellies, but I'm not sure about acidified foods. The only place I found that even said anything about farmers with commercial kitchens was on the Farm Bureau website, and it's not a whole lot of info. It does mention FDA requirements for wholesaling, but I know at least 1 farm that wholesales their jams and jellies made in their commercial kitchen (and marketed as "homemade" but not labeled "made in a non-inspected farm kitchen" as a residential farmer has to do) to a store that is not owned by them. There are other "farms" (at least the company name has "farm" in it) that wholesale to other farmstands but I think they may use a copacker.

Gotta love the bureaucracy! I believe in following the USDA (and for commercial processors, the FDA) processing requirements for food safety, but boy it sure would be nice if the various departments in charge of regulation could just get their acts together and be clear on the process of registration/inspection, etc. I spent 22 years working for Uncle Sam and there was a lot of bureaucracy in the military, but at least there was usually a pretty clear process/chain of command for getting something approved. But still a hassle, lots of hoops to jump through. But boy, agriculture and food processing - at least at the state level - it seems to be a case of no one really knowing what is required. I think it's b/c the legislature passes these laws and then just drops them in the laps of the state employees and they don't really know the intent of the law, and the lawmakers don't know anything about agriculture/food safety, and it takes years to come up with something that is a workable compromise - though it may not seem a reasonable compromise to the people who are trying to navigate the process.

Sorry, rant over. Good luck, you've come this far, just stick it out! BPCS is a breeze, only 2 days for acidified foods, and multiple choice tests, though a lot of stuff N/A to your kitchen. Hang in there!

Here is a link that might be useful: CT Farm Bureau info on acidified foods


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yesterday I spent my morning at jury duty, my early afternoon on getting my voter registration transferred from my old county, and the late afternoon dealing with this BS.

but as of today I have submitted everything necessary to the FDA, and I was told I might be able to get away with not having BPCS done if I can show that I already know how to keep good records, and that I have a pH tester and buffer solution. so I might be able to get this thing up and running soon. hopefully it can start generating some income before my wife leaves me from all the stress this venture has caused.

it's funny, the people who own the commercial kitchen have a guy there that makes pickles, and he didn't have to go thru any of this, despite pickles also being an acidified food (aren't they considered LACF?).

I was growing the peppers myself in the initial stages (namely while trying to hammer down my recipes), but I don't think I can grow them on the scale I need for this. I've been buying them by the pound from a forum member to stock up before frost drives the prices skyward, but I'm not quite sure they'd want me broadcasting this info so I won't give names. if this thing takes off, which I hope it will, next year I might look at getting some agricultural land and growing them myself just to save on costs. there's nothing about growing superhots that is more difficult than growing habs, but habs go for $2-44 a pound and scorpions go for $10-30 per pound.

almost there!


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Would it be an option to just order them from a farmer in the area? That's how I get my habaneros when I can't grow them myself. I don't know if that is so easily done with superhots though.

I wish I had known you needed some habaneros, because is ordered a half bushel from my favorite farmer this year and he gave me a full bushel instead. I could have passed them on to you and at least made them a tiny part of helping you out. I guess I still could if you don't mind them being pickled and/or dehydrated. :)

Angie


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I really do appreciate the offer, but I wouldn't really have much use for them. I was using habs as a point of comparison. the only habs I use are the green ones I buy at a local farmers market for use in a "mild" sauce I make. but seriously thank you for the offer.

there is a fella that grows them about a half hour from me, do a search for "baker's peppers" and see what people have to say on the topic.


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Judo, How hot are your sauce (for general public) is in SHU ?
Habs with 300k shu, if mixed 1 to 5 with any filler can result in 50k SHU.
I have no idea how hot the commercial hot sauces are in terms of real SHU numbers. The ones I have tried are maybe 10-15k.

seysonn


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Jason's Fire Fusions website.


CONGRATS!


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I really like the individual sauce labels. Someone has a fairly dark sense of humor.

Is that a face on the flask of The Mild One?

Dennis


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as of this morning I am cleared to start selling. everything else has fallen into place, except I just gotta get shipping figured out on my website, I'm having a lot of technical difficulties. so close, yet so far it seems.

I made my first batch in the commercial kitchen today, using all of my new equipment (most notably, the vitamix. that thing is gnarly), and I am thrilled with my results.


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That's awesome, Jason. I pretty confident I can speak for everyone here, by saying that we're all pretty excited! Let us know when you work all the kinks out, and I'm sure the orders will be pouring in. Hope you're ready to get flooded with lots of anxious customers!

Congrats again!
Mike


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