On fire

| Print |  Email
Articles - March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

IMG 2381Company:
Ford’s Fiery Foods and Plants

Product:
Spicy peppers

Owner:
John Ford

Headquarters:
Eugene

Launched:
2013

A self-proclaimed “chile head,” John Ford “grows, eats and does everything spicy.” An alcohol and drug outreach worker by day, Ford, 35, has been growing exotic hot peppers in his free time since 2008. Capitalizing on burgeoning demand for unique hot peppers — like the Syrian Aleppo, a burgundy pepper, commonly ground down to flakes, or the Brazilian ghost pepper, a bright-red pepper with twists of orange and green — Ford decided to turn his hobby into a full-blown business. In January 2013, he launched Ford’s Fiery Foods and Plants, a “pick-and-ship” business of the 50 hottest peppers in the world. From his home in Eugene, Ford distributes peppers grown in his backyard or on his sister’s property in White City, as well as seeds, pepper plants, powder and flakes. So far Ford has supplied more than 1,000 customers from around the country , including hot sauce manufacturers, food bloggers, taco shop owners and nurseries. A one-man operation, Fiery Foods got its start with $3,000 out-of-pocket funding; Ford now markets his products through social media, word of mouth and YouTube reviews. What’s next? Hoping to target chefs, restaurants and specialty food markets, Ford is introducing a new line of mild peppers this year known for their use in Turkish cuisine. He also wants to open a “spicy sandwich shop” and a storefront where he’ll sell, naturally, “all things spicy.”


Spicy Origins

“As a child I used to curse a lot, and my mom, as part of my punishment, would put a teaspoon of Tapatio [hot] sauce in my mouth. Needless to say, I never stopped cussing and I fell in love with spicy foods.”

Guerrilla Tactics

“There’s a YouTube challenge called ‘Pepper Bombing,’ and what we do is walk somewhere downtown and confront a group of people and dare them to eat our hot peppers. Look up ‘Pepper Bombing, Eugene, Oregon’: You’ll see. It’s pretty funny.”

 

Comments   

 
Guest
0 #1 Tori Mereida-FordGuest 2014-03-02 06:26:47
That's my little brother!!!
So proud of you!!!
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
0 #2 Anne MartinGuest 2014-06-06 07:09:28
And my only nephew. I too am proud of him. I also LOVE hot chilis!
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

I Know How You Feel

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Most smartphones come equipped with speech recognition systems like Siri or Cortana that are capable of understanding the human voice and putting words into actions. But what if smartphones could do more? What if smartphones could register feeling?


Read more...

Grape Expectations

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE

Well-financed outsiders from France and California are buying up vineyards and wineries in the Willamette Valley.


Read more...

October surprise

News
Sunday, October 12, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER

Cylvia Hayes, tabloid vs. watchdog journalism and the looming threat of a Cascadia earthquake.


Read more...

Shifting Ground

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE

Bans on genetically modified crops create uncertainty for farmers.


Read more...

Measure 91: What Oregon Businesses Need to Know

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
91 thumbBY DIANE BUISMAN

Some common misconceptions employers have about marijuana.


Read more...

Growing a mobility cluster

News
Friday, October 31, 2014
0414 bikes bd2f6052BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Why are there so few transportation startups in Portland?  The city’s leadership in bike, transit and pedestrian transportation has been well-documented.  But that was then — when government and nonprofits paved the way for a new, less auto centric way of life.


Read more...

Semiconductor purgatory

News
Monday, October 06, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Intel's manufacturing way station; Merkley's attack dog; Diamond Foods gets into the innovation business.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS