Jolene (Jojo) Collins of Park Slope claims to be the planet’s first maker of artisanal sriracha, which of course, means she’s a completely typical Brooklynite.
Everything sounds right about Jojo’s sriracha. All of the peppers she uses are grown locally, by farmers who choose not to treat their chilis with nasty pesticides and chemicals. The vinegar, evaporated palm sugar and garlic are all organic too. The only non-organic ingredients? Sea salt, and love.
Even better than the ingredients? Jojo’s approach. She eschews the condiment textbooks’ stern emphasis on standardized, consistent flavor from batch to batch, within and across the seasons. While some hot sauce producers would see a problem in the natural variations in flavor between a late summer chili pepper grown on a farm by the sea and one harvested weeks later under the blanket of an autumn mist on the flanks of the Catskills, Jojo embraces the vagaries of peppers from different places, producing small numbered batches meant to celebrate the idiosyncrasies of nature, in the form of a spicy condiment that’s really good on eggs.
The best thing? Jojo’s sriracha is really good. It nails that hard-to-hit hot sauce bullseye in which the spice adds flavor and heat without burning out your palate and turning the act of eating into a high school cafeteria-style game of masochistic machismo. The variation in flavor from batch to batch is interesting. It lives up to the hype.
The only problem? The word is out. Every batch of the stuff is selling out within hours of its release. But Jojo’s on it. She’s launched a fundraising campaign on a locally-based Kickstarter-type thing called Lucky Ant, to reel in $3,300 to buy equipment, to ramp up production, to bring her sriracha to everyone who wants it. In Brooklyn, anyway.
And this is the kind of fundraiser we like – none of that ‘everlasting gratitude’ b.s. in exchange for your cold hard cash here. All investments net equal or greater value in sriracha, or sriracha and yoga, or sriracha and food and beer. Jojo’s sriracha is normally twelve bucks a jar – here, you can get one for ten or two for twenty. We’ve got to rate this a ‘strong buy.’ You know what to do.
Here’s the video.