Hot sauce for the brave

Taos Hum kicks up the heat with four fiery flavors

By Jesse Moya
jmoya@taosnews.com
Posted 5/30/19

Deep in the hills of Velarde, two organic farmers started a fire that has spread to several tables around Taos.Down a forgotten, winding and twisting dirt road sits …

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Hot sauce for the brave

Taos Hum kicks up the heat with four fiery flavors

Posted

Deep in the hills of Velarde, two organic farmers started a fire that has spread to several tables around Taos.

Down a forgotten, winding and twisting dirt road sits Walking Trout Farms, where Joe and Loe Marcoline began working on Taos Hum Make It Stop hot sauce. The venture from the farmers has been over a year in the works, and they are now ready to share the Hum with brave hot sauce aficionados in Taos.

"I love hot sauce," Joe said. "I eat it on everything. We were just looking to sell something no one else was doing."

The husband-and-wife duo started off by selling organic produce at farmers markets in the region, but they moved their farm in a different direction and began growing various peppers. The operation soon expanded to seven different greenhouses where peppers from around the world are grown to be mixed into the four sauces making up Taos Hum's arsenal.

The sauce started as an experiment with friends and quickly took a new pathway for the couple following positive reviews from the informal taste tests.

"Market farming was just straining us," Loe said. "We've just been playing around with recipes."

Four different flavors of increasing heat are available from Taos Hum at various outlets in Taos. The flavors Roasted Ghost, Peruvian Ghost, Ghost Pepper Scorpion and Trinidad Moruga Scorpion are ready for customers. But it's not just heat that this couple cooked up. Taos Hum sauces also pack distinctive flavors in each of the four varieties.

"It's not like we're making the hottest thing we can," Joe said. "We're really trying to get good, complex flavors in there."

According to Joe, each bottle has different flavors and the sauces have specific pairing options to enhance their flavors. According to Loe, the Peruvian Ghost flavor goes best with chicken or fish, where Joe feels the Trinidad is best suited for red meat.

Taos Hum is the only grown, manufactured and bottled hot sauce in the area and has its humble beginnings on the 27 acres Joe and Loe own in the hills.

Loe and Joe moved to their property a decade ago and stayed in a tent near a river on the land. Slowly but surely, they built their home and began farming the land. Joe has a background in hydrology which helped him conserve water and use every last drop to ensure the farm was successfully using the resource.

The peppers in Taos Hum need plenty of humidity, so greenhouses are essential for locking in that extra moisture needed to keep the plants growing.

Peppers are grown at the farm and picked when they are ripe. Once picked, they are cored to remove the stem, blended with salt and vinegar and put in containers to ready for bottling.

Currently, the Taos Hum is in short supply at select locations in Taos. It's Joe and Loe's intentions to keep it in the area to keep their production volume at a manageable level. The sauce will be more widely available for 2020 when more cases are available.

The couple and their two workers are now looking at a renovation of their shop to accommodate better a larger volume of bottling. This year will mark the first official bottling of the Taos Hum hot sauce with only 500 cases. Next year's batch will bump up to around 1,500 cases, according to Joe.

Bottles can be purchased at Taos Mesa Brewing, The Burger Stand at Taos Ale House, Manzanita Market, Sweet Sol Bakery, Del Norte Liquors and Wild Leaven Bakery.

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