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By JILL MCNEAL6 News Anchor/Reporter
TALBOTT (WATE) - Some like it hot. And then there is Jim Smith of Rushy Springs Farm in Talbott.
Smith is obsessed with hot. He grows and sells 28 varieties of chili peppers, plus chili powder and chili sauce.
He says he loves peppers because of their beauty and diversity.
"They're so incredibly colorful," Smith said. "It's almost like a Christmas tree."
Smith is the first to admit he's obsessed.
"Almost anything I cook includes them," says.
That includes even the hottest, like ghost peppers and scorpions.
"Your tolerance builds just like with anything else," he said.
Smith wanted to share his passion, so 10 years ago he started bringing his Rushy Springs peppers, powders and sauces to the Market Square Farmer's Market.
He uses salt brine fermentation to make his sauce.
"There's no cooking involved so there's no loss of nutrients, and chilies are highly medicinal anyway," he noted.
Through the farmer's market, Smith met another local chili connoisseur, Crown and Goose chef and partner Jeffrey DeAlejandro.
DeAlejandro describes that meeting, saying, "'Oh, that looks like a cute little cherry chili' and put it in my mouth, and from there I fell in love. Fell in love."
DeAlejandro uses Smith's products every chance he gets.
"Anything from our buffalo sauce chicken wings has his peppers in it to bacon that I make in house," DeAlejandro says.
But what if you're not that familiar with hot peppers?
Smith says just try it.
Smith is looking for a partner to learn the business and love it as much he does.
He's also raising money to build his own commercial kitchen at Rushy Springs Farm so he doesn't have to travel to another location to bottle his famous sauce.
Find out more about Smith's peppers at his website. You can buy his products online at Etsy.com.