Submitted by Funky’s Hot Sauce Factory
Matthew and Rachel Mini, California transplants who moved to Bellingham with their young family several years ago, brought with them the foundation of what has grown into Funky’s Hot Sauce Factory. The company launched and began selling sauces commercially in the summer of 2019, which can now be found in multiple Whatcom County locations.
Following is an introduction to Funky’s Hot Sauce Factory, from Matthew Mini.
Why hot sauce? Well, I’ve always loved both hot and sweet peppers, so in 2006 I started a small pepper farm (The Mini Farm, as I like to call it) in an 800-square-foot backyard garden in Santa Rosa.
The chickens were bok-ing and the bees were buzzing as I zigzagged around wine barrel and raised bed planters bursting with peppers. Back in those days, I’d grow any pepper I could get my hands on. Habanero, Thai, Serrano, Jalapeño, Manzano, Red Savina and Jolokia were among the different varieties I could find as plant starts in my favorite local nursery in Sebastopol, Harmony Farm Supply.
I worked at Russian River Brewing Company during this time, learning lots about fermentation from the brewery’s owner. After four years of starting plants from seed and playing around with fermented and non-fermented pepper concoctions in the kitchen, I began to dial in some recipes with my favorite peppers. Family and friends sent praises my way, so I continued to experiment with all kinds of funky mix-ups.
After another eight years of harvesting, mashing, fermenting, cooking, bottling, giving away sauce for holiday gifts to friends and family, we moved to Bellingham and I re-learned how to grow peppers in this cooler climate. I was eventually laid off from a stressful project management job in construction and right then and there decided this was the year to turn my mad scientist passion into a legit product. It took close to one full year of contracts, licenses, and wads of red tape, but I finally managed to make my dream come true. In 2019, all the way from seed to sauce, Funky’s Hot Sauce Factory became a reality.
Nowadays, I still grow peppers at home for my family supply and experimental sauces. The chickens are still bok-ing and the bees are still buzzing, but the Washington sun is a bit more temperamental. So I’ve embarked on an adventure in cold frame and greenhouse gardening, which has been a complete success!
Wondering why it’s named Funky? That nickname was given to me by my former bandmates, for the way I play the guitar. I also like the name because it somewhat defines some of our concoctions and it references fermentation, which is very important to us. There you have it.
Funky’s Hot Sauce Factory is 100% vegan, gluten free, Non-GMO and mostly organic. We are a family-run business and committed to using locally sourced and organic ingredients when available; we intend to become USDA organic certified and/or Non-GMO certified in the near future. You will never find any fillers, non-natural preservatives or non-naturally sourced salt in any of our products.
One of our core values has always been to produce great tasting, well balanced sauce with loads of flavor alongside the heat. We pride ourselves on delivering unique sauces to both hot sauce fanatics and those just tiptoeing into the hot sauce universe.
Funky’s currently offers three varieties of sauce: a hot/sweet habanero-based sauce called Liquid Sunshine, a savory habanero/garlic sauce with a touch of ginger called Stellar Fuzz, and a savory fermented green chili-based sauce called Terra Luna. We’re also working on releasing several new sauces this year, which will include both our hottest and mildest sauces to date.
You can find Funky’s Hot Sauce Factory sauces at both Bellingham Food Co-Op locations, Elizabeth Station in Bellingham, The Rome Store on the Mount Baker Highway, The Green Barn in Lynden, The Vault Wine Bar in Blaine, and the Sehome Village Haggen.