Picking Peppers with Robyn ‘Tabasco’ Jasko

Robyn Jasko

Robyn Jasko

As a kid, Robyn Jasko’s affection for hot sauce earned her the nickname “Tabasco Jasko.” As an adult, she channeled her obsession with hot peppers into an interest in gardening and growing food — so much so that she started a gardening blog and published Homesweet Homegrown, a handbook covering everything from choosing and planting seeds to preserving, pickling, fermenting, and freezing fresh fruits and vegetables.

In 2013, Jasko decided it was time to return to her first love: hot sauce. She launched a Kickstarter project for a line of three vegan hot sauces, hoping to raise $850 to grow two hundred and fifty hot pepper plants and three hundred heads of garlic. She wound up raising over $53,000. The funds allowed her to buy a brand-new plot of land, which she turned into a community farm where she grows over six thousand hot pepper plants each year.  

Homesweet Homegrown now makes five different kinds of hot sauce, and recently launched a hot pepper CSA that delivers eighteen varieties of superhot chili peppers to participants’ doors throughout the harvest season. 

As an author who translated a small gardening blog into a book, a product line, and a first-of-its-kind community farm and CSA, “Tabasko Jasko” has some advice for people pursuing big dreams: “Do not settle. If someone tells you it can’t be done, continue working until you find a solution that meets your ideals, morals, and personal philosophy.” And for epicures in particular: “Keep it local, and don’t be cheap or skimp on ingredients — quality products are worth it.”