“You’re here!” Things That Make a Good Day When the Market is Slow

July was a slow month for us. It was slow last year, so this doesn’t come as a surprise. But still, I feel filled with optimism at the start of every market, that feeling that this one could be great. There are so many quality vendors here – people will come.

And yet – July was slow. Last Thursday, I did a market outside of the city that was well-advertised but poorly attended. It was one of those fuming hot and humid days that carried the constant threat of thunderstorms (-rain that ultimately didn’t come), a sure way to banish any but the most loyal market-goers.

But halfway through the market, as I absentmindedly stared down at my phone, I heard, “You’re here!” and looked up to see the most joyful expression on the face of a woman probably 6 feet from me, standing stunned in the middle of the gravel path. She explained she’d bought from me the last time I was at the market – about 5 weeks previously – but gave the hot sauce away to a friend, and her husband had been annoyed ever since that they hadn’t gotten to try it first themselves. She joked, “Maybe once I bring home a new bottle, he’ll love me again.” She bought the second bottle, we smiled at each other, and I wished her well.

While it always feels good to work a busy, profitable market, there are so many other factors that can make for a good day, even when it’s slow. The best moments are always with customers: that person who says they’ve been looking for you since the last time, or someone who stumbles across your booth for the first time, delighted. When most of the work in this company is done by just myself and our small team, having a window into our customers’ lives gives joy and purpose to all of our preparation.

At markets, I get to learn about each person – what they enjoy, how they cook: “I’m making wings, what would go well with that?” “We’re making dinner with what we picked up at the market – what goes with these ingredients?” Or, “I’m buying a gift for my son who loves hot sauce – what would you recommend?” We become a hot sauce concierge, giving advice and guidance on how to spice it up just right.

I notice what customers notice – what they remark on, likes and dislikes, how they’ve used our products. I get to see folks’ reactions trying our hot sauces for the first time: the big eyes, raised eyebrows, exclamations (“that’s fun!”). On this market day, a couple came through with their baby and tried two hot sauces, giving their infant son the last tiny taste – and even he loved it.

Towards the end of the day, as the forecast worsened and foot traffic failed to pick up, vendors packed up early. With half an hour left, I was the only booth left in my entire row – might as well just stick it out. But in the last ten minutes, a couple rounded the corner, exclaimed “hot sauce!” – bought two of our highest priced items, and left with, “Keep selling – you’re not done yet.” It was the right encouragement, at the right time.

Yes, July was slow, but connecting with our customers is what makes any market – busy or not – worthwhile. We’ll be here.

Recipe: Crunchy Summer Salad

Last weekend I visited a good friend of mine for a little retreat, and on our first night we cobbled together these two salads in a winning union that I would like to (prematurely) call the salad of the summer. The combination of a super crunchy, veg-forward salad with a light, lemony white bean salad made for something both more refreshing and more satisfying than either offers alone. It’s a light meal perfect for warm nights — and benefits from a citrusy kick from Goodlands’ newest Lemon Love Hot Sauce. We ate our salads with gusto, by winking fireflies, and chased it with a few melted marshmallows. I dare you to beat it.

This super-salad would make a great weeknight meal or an easy potluck take-along, and could just as easily be adapted as a lighter side (omit the bean salad and halloumi) or zhuzhed up for a more substantial meal (grill some chicken or fish, add a side of hummus and pita, etc). I’ve listed the components here in the order that we prepared them, for flow.


  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or crushed
  • ½ teaspoon(ish) dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

In a small jar, add the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano, mustard, salt, and several grinds of pepper, seal tightly with the lid, and shake until emulsified. Season to taste.

(You could also make a double batch and keep the extra dressing on-hand.)

White Bean Salad

  • 1/4 C chopped red onion
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can white beans
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

Add the chopped red onion and lemon juice to a small bowl, and let sit while preparing the rest of the salad. (This will make the onion milder and sweeter.)

Drain the can of white beans – but do not rinse. Add the beans to a medium bowl, gently mix in EVOO, and lightly season with salt and pepper. Let sit while preparing the crunchy veg salad.

Crunchy Veg Salad

  • 1-2 cucumbers (1 long or 2 short)
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1-2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 8 ounces halloumi cheese
  • Olive oil (for frying halloumi)

Cut cucumbers lengthwise, seed, and slice ¼-inch thick. Chop bell pepper into 1-inch pieces. Slice cherry tomatoes in half (I like this trick!).

Mix cut cucumbers, bell pepper, halved cherry tomatoes, and kalamata olives in serving bowl, and roughly tear the mint leaves as you add them in.
Sprinkle with salt & a few grinds of pepper and let sit.

To fry the halloumi, halve the 8oz block lengthwise and slice into 1/4″ pieces. Add 2-4 tablespoons olive oil to a pan over medium-high heat, and once oil is shimmering (hot), place the halloumi slices flat in the oil, being careful that none overlap. Let them fry to golden-brown underneath before flipping. Once fried on both sides, remove from the heat, and set the halloumi pieces on paper towels (or a brown paper bag) to drain off excess oil.


When you’re ready to serve, divide the chopped red onions between the White Bean Salad and the Crunchy Veg Salad. Mix evenly, and dress the Crunchy Veg Salad with the vinaigrette. Heap the salads side-by-side onto plates, add fried halloumi on the side, and spice with Lemon Love to-taste.

If making a day ahead, wait to add the fresh herbs and dress the crunchy veg salad until just before serving, and fry the halloumi as close to serving as possible.

Notes & Afterthoughts

Play with the proportions here: Add more or less of what you like (or don’t like), or substitute in some crunchy veg from your farmers market or CSA. In peak summertime, you could play around with monochrome versions of this (think yellow peppers, sungold tomatoes, lemon cucumbers, etc).

Additions and substitutions: Sundried tomatoes would be great with the olives, especially if taking this in a vegan direction. Chickpeas would work well instead of white beans. Feta or halloumi, your choice, but keep the feta cold, or be sure to fry the halloumi. You can’t go wrong by adding more fresh herbs — parsley, mint, oregano — in either the Crunchy Veg or White Bean Salads. Green onions could be used instead of red. Experiment and enjoy!

Recipe: Spicy Chex Mix

As I sit here writing up this spicy chex mix recipe, I’m realizing just how long it’s been since the last recipe was posted. I will save you from my list of (feeble) excuses, but let me just say, this snack mix is worth the wait. Since December, I have made two (two!) giant batches of this, bagged up for holiday baskets and Christmas stockings, given to friends as new year’s treats, and squirreled away (-in the most literal sense) in my Kia Soul for emergency snacking.

You will make this once and like it, and then you will make it again **to your own personal specifications** and love it. I have found that I like to dial down the heat on this since I tend to snack on it liberally, so I make it with the hot sauce on the lighter side, but you may choose to go heavier. I like a dry crunch, so I might double up on goldfish and omit the nuts, but you might swap the proportions of nuts vs. pretzels for a more filling snack — etc. In short, I hope you use this recipe as a guide toward your own Personal Best™ Snack Mix. Enjoy!

Snack Mix

  • 6 cups Chex cereal (I like the mix of rice, wheat and corn — such crunch, so many textures. But just 1 variety is okay, too!)
  • 1 cup nuts (your choice)
  • 1 1/2 cups gold fish, cheez-its, or other cheese-adjacent snap factor
  • 2 cups pretzels

Feel free to make this your own — just keep an eye towards maintaining the same total amount of dry ingredients (~10.5 cups) as you experiment with components, to keep a similar sauce-to-snack-mix ratio.


  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 3 Tbsp. worcestershire sauce (*or soy sauce)
  • 2 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar 


  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Measure out snack mix ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Combine hot sauce, melted butter, worcestershire (or soy sauce), onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt and brown sugar, making sure that your salt and sugar dissolve in the mixture.
  4. Pour sauce over Chex Mix ingredients and stir until well coated.
  5. Spread evenly onto a cookie sheet or roasting pan. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Stir about every 20 minutes to keep from burning. Around the 1 hour mark, start testing for crunch and doneness: scoop out a spoonful of chex mix and let cool completely before sampling. The mix is done when it’s dried out and crunchy to your liking.
  6. Let cool before serving and/or storing.

Keep a little for yourself, too; This snack mix lives in deli quarts in my pantry.

*For my vegan friends — many varieties of worcestshire sauce contain anchovies or fish sauce. Soy sauce is a great alternative, and/or coconut aminos, for my soy-sensitive pals.

Am I dreaming big enough?

Image of a framed tabletop chalkboard with a decorative green leaf outline, and white chalk text, "Hot Sauces." Slogan at the bottom reads, "for people who love flavor!"

Markets this fall have been a little weird on my end. September 1st marked the official start of taking Goodlands full-time, which was of course very exciting, but also sent my poor little Capricorn heart into a tizzy re: routines. Here I am, a grown person, getting used to the self-made day.

October arrived, and brought a series of weekends away, family events, and some difficult things at home. I missed a lot of markets, and I felt disconnected from my customers, even as production in the kitchen began to ramp up significantly.

Around this time, I brought on my first hot sauce assistant, Pete. As anyone who’s started their own business knows, the feeling of increasing capacity beyond yourself is like one big, deep, satisfying sigh of relief. I’d been putting this off, not because I didn’t think I’d need it, but because I knew this growth would force me to get organized. I had to plan more carefully, more efficiently, to figure out when, where, and how I most needed the help. It’s a process, and not an accidental one.

The second Pete started working with Goodlands, I realized this change was long overdue. Our production capacity doubled, I had abundantly more energy for the parts of the business I’d been neglecting (–labeling, planning, admin, packaging, you-name-it), and the work became far more enjoyable. I’d been burning myself out with 12-hour production runs that left me feeling exhausted, dehydrated, and isolated, not to mention deliriously behind on the “everything else” in my life.

This is all to say: After this hiatus from markets, the financial crunch of stocking up on supplies for holiday production, and the new leap in our production capacity, I came to this year’s Good Food Fest outfitted with cases of hot sauce in cascading colors, but no idea if we’d do well or not. And I really needed us to do well.

Miraculously, it was a banner day. From the moment the festival opened at 11am, we had a steady stream of customers. Having roped my dear friend Emma into helping me out, we frequently found ourselves passing samples over one another or reaching for the pay terminal as multiple customers enthusiastically tried one hot sauce after another. (I’m pretty sure one customer actually said, “You’re like a hot sauce… wizard!”) By the time the festival came to a close, I hadn’t taken a food break, water break, or pee break since 7am, but I had sold all but 2 of the massive stack of “spice flight” gift boxes I’d packed for the festival, and 5x the number of full-size hot sauce bottles I’d normally turn over in a market. We’d done better than “well”; We’d totally eclipsed my goal.

This has me thinking a lot about ambition. For as small as Goodlands is at this moment, I’m doing my best to set big (relative) goals for this company. A few weeks ago, I sat down and named my 4th quarter sales goal, well aware that this is the biggest quarter of the year. My ambitious target for today’s festival would have met 12% of that quarterly goal, a pretty sizable chunk. Instead, at the end of the day, my actual sales met 25% of the goal. I did twice as well as I thought I would.

It’s startling, because now I have to ask myself, am I not dreaming big enough? Have I underestimated how well this company can actually do? And if I worked this hard for it all to sell so fast, can I handle the increased demand?

I think it comes down to a matter of risk tolerance. If I’m honest, I’ve been hedging a bit — not taking on more markets or demand than I know I can handle. I’ve been at my growth edge, but just barely, not leaning into the kinds of decisions that would take me further, faster (–like bringing on a hot sauce assistant). This careful kind of planning feels steady, but perhaps at the loss of momentum. What would it look like to dream bigger, to double my expectations? I worked so hard just to be ready for this one market, what if I can’t make the next leap? But if I don’t try, I won’t know. If I don’t reach, I won’t grow.

So here I am, committing publicly on the internet: I am dreaming bigger. I am doubling my expectations. I won’t share exact numbers here, but I’ll report back. Wish me luck.

Recipe: Cauliflower Buffalo Bites

I am an impatient gardener; I almost never grow the same things year-to-year, and as soon as they’re in the ground I can’t wait for the first harvest. This year, I tried growing cauliflower for the first time, and somehow resisted checking on the heads until mid-June — and by the time I peeked over the leaves, they were somehow, miraculously (??) ready.

I knew exactly what I wanted to use them for: BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER. I’m not vegan, and I do love some classic chicken wings, but I’m also a sucker for veggies and have been wanting to adapt this recipe for what-feels-like-forever. This recipe calls for a rice flour batter that crisps up into a perfectly craggy crust and holds the sauce *just so.*

For the saucing, you can use whichever hot sauce you’d like (-though you know what I’m grabbing), but I will say — these buffalo bites get a good dose of hot sauce per piece, so don’t expect a hot hot sauce to get more tame. In other words — if you like a mild wing, pick a mild sauce. If you like it hot, by all means go wild.

All said, these buffalo bites turned out great, but I also felt like they needed a cooling dip for balance. Woe to me, there was not a ranch or blue cheese dressing to be found, so I worked up a creamy avocado-dill dip that did the trick.

Let me know what you think — and of course, I’d love to hear which hot sauce you used.

Adapted from https://www.franksredhot.com/en-ca/recipes/buffalo-cauliflower-bites

1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 cup water
1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 cup hot sauce *of your choice* – I recommend Goodlands’ Ghost Pepper, or Maple Chili Garlic
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or butter), melted

PREHEAT oven to 450°F (230°C). Whisk rice flour, garlic powder and salt in large bowl. Mix in water gradually until you get a thick, smooth slurry. Dip cauliflower pieces in batter to coat, then arrange in single layer on greased baking sheet.

BAKE 20 minutes, turning halfway through, until crispy and lightly browned.
MIX hot sauce and coconut oil in large bowl until well blended. Add cauliflower, tossing gently to coat. Return cauliflower to baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes longer or until crispy. Serve with your favorite creamy dipping sauce.

Adapted from https://www.eatingbirdfood.com/vegan-avocado-ranch-dressing/

1 medium avocado
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon dijon or stone-ground mustard
1 teaspoon maple syrup
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, basil or dill (pick your favorite)
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender and process until smooth and creamy, adding more almond milk if the dressing seems too thick. Once the texture is to your liking, taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

Pour the dressing in to a container for serving, and dip away. Dressing should keep for 1-2 days in the fridge. Makes 3/4 cup.

Both the buffalo bites and the avocado-dill dip will go fast so, you know, plan ahead.

Recipe: Cozy Spiced Lentil Soup

Years ago, a friend shared this supremely cozy soup at a potluck. Ever since, I’ve found myself making it every few weeks throughout the winter. I usually have the ingredients on-hand, and it’s easy to shop for 2 batches at once.

This recipe is adapted from The Traveler’s Lunchbox (who reinterpreted it from Once Upon a Tart by Frank Mentesana and Jerome Audureau). Here, in its third generation, it gets double coconut milk (#sorrynotsorry), extra greens, and a dash of fire cider vinegar for brightness.

Serves: 3-4

1 1/2 cups (275g) green or brown lentils
6 cups (1.5l) vegetable or chicken stock
1 bushy sprig fresh thyme (1 tsp. dried thyme does in a pinch)
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
3 tablespoons butter, vegetable or coconut oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
a pinch of freshly-ground nutmeg
1 can (400 ml) coconut milk, or to taste
2-4 cups (your preference) fresh spinach, kale, or chard, washed, tough stems discarded and cut into ribbons
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

dash of Fire Cider Vinegar, or apple cider vinegar, to taste

Rinse the lentils and pick out any debris. Combine them in a pot with the stock, thyme and tumeric and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer until the lentils are soft, about 20 minutes. Fish out the thyme.

While the lentils are cooking, heat the butter or oil in a smallish skillet and sauté the onion over medium heat, stirring frequently, until browned and caramelized in places, about 12-15 minutes. Add the garlic and spices and fry just until deeply aromatic, about 30 seconds. Scrape the contents of the skillet into the pot with the lentils, and add the coconut milk and greens. Bring everything back to a gentle boil and cook another 10 minutes, or until the flavors have blended and the greens are tender. Season with salt and pepper, and add a dash of Fire Cider Vinegar (or apple cider vinegar) to taste.

Serve hot.

Recipe: Ming’s Killer Chili

Recently my friend Ming invited some friends over for a casual dinner. Winter being what it is, and I being who I am, I could not resist a bowl of deeply flavored, super savory, warm and toasty chili. And please believe me when I say that Ming’s (vegan) chili was damn good. He was gracious enough to share his recipe.

Hot sauce pairings: Carrot Habanero; Serrano Cilantro Lime; Orange Habanero.

2 T olive oil
1 pound Impossible ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 bell peppers, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup celery, diced

3 T chili powder
2 T ground cumin
1 T garlic powder
1 T oregano

1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper* -(optional)

2 C vegetable broth
2 (12 oz.) cans petite diced tomatoes
1 (12 oz.) can pinto beans, drained
2 (12 oz.) can black beans, drained

Add 1 T olive oil to a large soup pot and place it over medium-high heat for two minutes. Add the ground beef to the pot. Break it apart with a wooden spoon. Cook for 6-7 minutes, until the beef is browned, stirring occasionally. Remove from pot and put aside.

Add 1 T olive oil to large soup pot and place on medium-high heat. Add the onions, peppers, carrots, and celery. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the ground beef, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne (if using). Stir until well combined.
Add the broth, diced tomatoes (with their juice), and drained beans. Stir well.

Bring the liquid to a low boil. Then, reduce the heat (low to medium-low) to gently simmer the chili, uncovered, for 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the pot from the heat. Let the chili rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy with your favorite chili garnishes: cilantro? sour cream? and obviously, plenty of hot sauce.

Adapted from https://www.thewholesomedish.com/the-best-classic-chili/