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3 October 2016
From Local to World Wide
Down a long dusty road surrounded by water and cane fields sits Avery Island. Home to Tabasco a local company known for their hot sauce made on this little island. It has humble beginnings from starting as a small family farm, to now producing one of the more famous hot sauces in the world.
Once I make pass the guard shack with the sleepy attendant inside. I Follow the old wooden signs in the shape of arrows leading me to the factory. Over a hill is this old brick building that kind of looks like a big school. As I park and look to my left I see three old home style cabins all with different titles museum, store, and restaurant. I start at the museum, as I walk in there is introduction to the Tabasco poster that talks about the farm. The more I walk through it they give the history of the family, and how the founder originally wanted to name it “Petite Anse Sauce” after his in-laws but they objected. I continue to walkthrough and look at all the show cases with old farm tools like rakes, hoes, and gloves. Also war photos of soldiers from world war two, using Tabasco on their food throughout the war even before it was sold in other countries. There is a picture of a group soldiers in Afghanistan giving the thumbs up pointing at a Tabasco bumper sticker on their tank.
I walk down to stop number two to the greenhouse to see the variety of peppers used to make the sauce. I start to smell spice in the air from the peppers and aging room. Once in the green house there are two big fans blowing making a pretty loud hum. The first bush I see is Jalapeno pepper bush. The peppers on the bush most are glowing red with some green ones. Then there is the habanero bush with little orange bulbs of heat hanging off it. Then onto the Tabasco pepper plant itself which was named that before the sauce, but the family argues that they named it. The peppers hanging off this bush look like little red fire crackers that almost look like they’re trying to scare you off before you even eat the sauce. There was only a few of each plant in the green house. They have many other farms around the world to keep up with the demand for the sauce.
Stop number three is the barrel room. I can, see barrels stacked to the roof and smell of old wet wood fills the air. They show the process they go through with each barrel, from changing the ring to recharring after each use they use the barrels for three years before getting rid of them. They show the mash going into the barrel, and it has the look of red hot lava as it falls into the barrel. Once filled with mash they put they lid on it then cover the lid with about an inch of salt. As I walk to the aging room I smell this sour vinegar spicy smell. Looking into the aging room I can see what looks like possibly thousands of barrels it looks like a football field of barrels. There is so many barrels in there tightly packed that you could walk across the whole aging room just on the tops of barrels without missing a step. There were several forklifts speeding around picking up barrels to bring to blending. Seeing that many barrels there makes me wonder where in the world will it end up at probably some places I have never been.
The blending room was the next stop. This is where they add the mash to the other ingredients to make the final product. When walking in the I notice huge fake replicas of the peppers they use hanging from the ceiling. Once on the second floor where you can see over the tanks where they check the sauce and test it to make sure it’s ready. I notice one worker with a mask, gloves, and face shield on to protect them from the sauce in the tank. As he walks off the platform I notice a sign hanging there saying “make it better that’s what we do” almost like it’s there to remind you it makes all foods better. I look out over these hundreds of tanks, that are massive I wonder how many bottles of hot sauce they get out of each one.
After blending the sauce goes to bottling to be packaged and head to shipping. Even though, there is a glass wall between me and the bottling I can still hear the nose from the machine and cling of the bottles. As I stand there and look over the bottling I see a worker dump a box of caps into the hopper. There was so many it filled the hopper then spilled out on to the floor. Standing there I see the machine moving and spitting out more bottles then any human ever could. Several lines bottling lines just cranking out one bottle after another to go all over the world. There is a board above the line closest to the window that says “These bottles are going to Japan.” It’s incredible to think that I’m looking at something being made right in front me, in this little plant in the middle of now Louisiana that will soon be across the world.
At the end of the bottling room is a product room with all their different products and packaging types. There is a video on the with chiefs talking about all the different ways they use Tabasco in their meals. Looking around the room is huge seven feet tall replicas of all the different flavors of hot sauces they and packing labels. There is a world map hanging on the wall with all the countries that Tabasco is sent to over 185 countries. Each country has its own special label and language on the bottle. Then there is a product show case that shows all products Tabasco is in from cheez-its, liquor, popcorn, and soy sauce many of the products I have never seen. There was an old slot machine from a casino that was tabasco themed.
It’s truly amazing to see the process on how the sauce is made. From the aging, blending, and bottling to see how much work goes in to this little bottle of red sauce was really great. To know that this small little farm here in south Louisiana makes, and distributes something to 185 countries most of which I will probably never see and have never heard of. The reach of this little product is mind blowing and to know it’s just two hours away from me which is why it’s local but worldwide.
Lee 1e trying to scare you off before you even eat the sauce. There was only a few of each plant in the green house. They have many other farms around the world to keep up with the demand for the sauce.
After blending the sauce goes to bottling to be packaged and head