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

Back to School

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY LEE VAN DER VOO

By now we’ve all read the headlines: Starbucks is giving away free degrees. Except it isn’t.


Read more...

Podcast: Interview with Pete Friedes

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, August 27, 2014

082714-thumb friedesbookTom Cox interviews Pete Friedes, author of "The 2R Manager," about becoming a Best Boss.


Read more...

Community colleges and sustainability

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, July 31, 2014
sustainabilityBY MARY SPILDE | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Faced with the aftermath of the “great recession,” increasing concern about the environment and dwindling family wage jobs, we have some very important choices to make about our future.


Read more...

Portland rises

News
Monday, August 18, 2014

IMG 2551Portland is in the middle of another construction boom, with residential and office projects springing up downtown, in the Pearl and Old Town. OB Web Editor Jessica Ridgway documents the new wave.


Read more...

Molecular Movies

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Dr. Chong Fang isn’t God. But the assistant professor of chemistry at Oregon State University is getting closer to figuring out how he put everything together. 


Read more...

Poll Wrap-Up

News
Friday, August 15, 2014

2014 NewPoll-report-newsletterthumbIn this week's poll, we asked readers: "Who should pay for the troubled Cover Oregon website?" Here are the results.


Read more...

Powerlist: Colleges and Universities

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation about higher education with the presidents of the University of Oregon and Clackamas Community College, followed by September's powerlist.


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