For fans of hot sauce, it doesn’t get any hotter or locally made than Shaun Winter’s Hot Winter Hot Sauces, produced in Cottage Grove.
Shaun grows about 60% of the peppers he uses himself on a small plot in Dorena, and he purchases the rest from other growers in the Willamette Valley. One of the peppers he grows is his own unique variety, the Hot Winter pepper, an off-type Jimmy Nardello pepper, which he developed a few years ago when he was working at a market farm in Northern California.
All of his hot sauces are fermented using organic ingredients. In addition to the Hot Winter pepper, he uses a variety of heirloom peppers to create a diverse array of flavors, colors and heat levels.
Shaun’s sauces are on the scale of mild to very hot and everything in between. On the mild end is Poblano, a warm sauce with lots of smoky, green chile flavor. The medium Hinkelhatz is a sweet blend of Hungarian Hot Wax, Hinkelhatz and Shaun’s Hot Winter peppers. Shaun’s medium hot “Original” hot sauce features his Hot Winter pepper. The Original is earthy with a robust but not overpowering heat.
On the hot end of the scale are the Santa Fe Grande and the golden-colored Orleans, with the orange Bulgarian Carrot topping the scale as very hot. Use these sauces with eggs, tacos, anything to which you want to add some zip.
With his sauces, Shaun says, “I wanted to create something shelf stable that could bring a taste of the farmer’s market to grocery stores. My goal is to make ‘organic’ a less abstract concept for people,” a goal that’s in line with Market of Choice’s focus, too.
Shaun says Market of Choice was particularly helpful during the pandemic when his sales fell. They helped to push local products, offering sales to customers while still paying full price to vendors, he says. “I don’t know of any other store that has made such an effort, and it was an enormous help.”
Additionally, Shaun produces a three-chile vinegar, a fermented medium heat Hatch Chile in partnership with Los Roast, and he makes Limited Editions, such as his Aleppo hot sauce. It has become one of the core varieties he grows each year in hopes of connecting our community to the generations of people in Turkey responsible for developing this pepper. He donates 5 percent of Aleppo sales to the International Rescue Committee.