I first met Vince Tristano of Santa Rosa’s Triple T Ranch and Farm many years ago, as I was ogling his bounty of hot peppers. This multi-generation farming family has been growing organic produce since 1983. There were ghosts and habañeros, jalapeños and cherry bombs, serrano peppers and so on. The colors! The shapes and sizes, peppers are incredibly beautiful and pack such marvelous fiery promise.
With some frightful peppers named Carolina Reaper, Trinidad Scorpion, and Komodo Dragon, just to name a few, you know these beauties are not messing around. We fell in love with Vince’s peppers and hot sauces, and we were inspired.
When peppers come into season I buy them by the bowlful and display them like art. And then something wonderful happens … Connor turns them into the most wicked and delicious hot sauces. We call them HardSwan hot sauces and they go by various names indicating their peppery origins. He once created a special line for his colleagues, named Vineyard Blend, Cellar Blend, and Hospitality Blend, and they featured hot peppers grown on the stunning property where he works. They were all a big hit and you might be able to guess which of the three packed the most heat.
The first HardSwan sauces came about as we were headed to Ireland in October 2015 and I simply could not bear for the colorful bowl of hot peppers to go by the wayside. They did not and a scrumptious tradition was born. It’s a good thing our families also enjoy the heat, as they are bound to open a HardSwan vertical every Christmas.
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This Friday while you admire the colors and flavors of the sweet and hot peppers alike, make sure to bring the kids to “Bilingual Story Time” hosted by Rosa Cachu, Outreach Specialist for UpValley Family Centers, from 9:30 to 10 a.m. and “Eat a Rainbow” kids’ projects hosted by our own Market Educator, Arwen Gallenkamp, from 9 to 10 a.m.
Don’t miss the much-anticipated demonstration by Jeff Mosher, executive chef at Robert Mondavi Winery, at our Chef’s Table at 10:30 a.m. Jeff will have great tips to share, as well as a delicious sample for you to taste and recipe to take home.
The St. Helena Farmers’ Market is held every Friday through Oct. 25 in Crane Park from 7:30 a.m. to noon. For the most up-to-date information, visit us at sthelenafarmersmkt.org or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.