Word perfects signature ‘blazing hot sauce’
Published 10:47 am Thursday, May 12, 2016
By LAURA BROOKHART / Community Columnist
In the fall of 2013, James Clark Word was given a handful of Carolina Reaper peppers by a good friend.
He took those peppers, added a ½ pound each of habanero and jalapeno peppers and dehydrated them to make one powder. He added water, to dilute the heat of the Reaper.
“However,” Word says, “The result was one blazing hot sauce.”
In 2014, he ordered seed from Pepper Joe’s and bought additional jalapeno and habanero plants locally. The plants started from seed didn’t produce until late fall, and with that lesson learned, he built a greenhouse.
By spring 2015, he had “lots and lots of plants,” so was inspired to try his hand at producing his sauce.
Consulting with his mother, they produced a customized version of an old Caribbean Chili recipe. Last July, with a heat index of 109 degrees, he first offered his sauce at an outdoor venue.
“I did well there, so I knew I had to be onto something,” he said. He expanded his Alabama Growers permit towards finding the commercial kitchen he now works from.
Formerly a graphic designer, Word’s sauce business is full-time and he handles every aspect of it—from growing the peppers, making, bottling the sauce, as well as graphics, marketing, social media and booking events.
Clark’s Caribbean Seven Sauce offers a sweet hot flavor versus a chili flavor while retaining its Caribbean roots. The ingredients listed on his brochures are distilled white vinegar, peaches and pineapple, brown sugar and molasses, yellow mustard and roasted red bell pepper, salt, pepper, ground cumin, ground ginger and C. chinense (7-pot cultivar) chili pepper.
The name Word settled upon symbolizes the multiple ways the number seven seems significant to him and he regards it as the number of completeness. The original 5-ounce bottle sells for $7, as well.
Two 5-ounce bottles sell for $12 and the 16-ounce bottle is $16 or two for $25. Currently, Word will deliver orders of $25 or more within a 25-mile radius of Helena for $5, but says that is subject to change if gas prices escalate.
Clark’s Caribbean Seven Sauce is sold in Cullman at Werner’s Trading Co. and in Tuscaloosa at the Maker’s Market. He is also participating in Helena’s First Fridays and will be at Buck Creek Festival.
He can be contacted via his website: http://www.helenapepper.co/