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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Harvesting a cultural phenomenon

While money doesn't grow on trees, Edmund McIlhenny found a way to make money from garden and love of food. He was given some seeds from Mexico and set out to plant the seeds at his home in Avery Island, Louisiana, with a goal of creating his own hot sauce. Once the peppers were harvested he mashed them and added salt, and aged them for thirty days. He then added vinegar and aged it another thirty days, then strained it, corked it and sealed it. Friends and family found the sauce to be so likeable, Edmund quit his job as a banker to sell the sauce. The first year he made and sold 658 bottles of the sauce at $1 each. That was back in 1868. He obtained a patent two years later and sold the sauce throughout the US and England. Five generations and 140 years later, the sauce is made the same way except the aging process takes three years. The product, Tabasco, is sold worldwide and has become a cultural phenomenon.