Written By: New Roots Intern, Sophia Hammer
La Cocina is a locally owned restaurant located in the historic Presidio District, serving traditional Southwestern dishes. And now available to purchase at La Cocina is hot sauce straight from the peppers of Tucson’s IRC New Roots farmers – Egide Gahungu and Anezi Kaneza. La Cocina continues to be an advocate and supporter of local organizations and we are delighted to announce our collaboration with them on exclusive seasonal hot sauces!
“I am so pleased because it makes me feel like what I am doing, the work I am doing is being enjoyed by other people.”
Anezi and Egide have been a thriving part of the IRC Tucson New Roots program since 2017 and have been successful in selling their produce through Santa Cruz River Farmers Market, Pivot Produce, Tucson CSA and to individuals throughout the Tucson community. We are excited to share that these two farmers have recently collaborated with LaCo. to provide locally grown peppers for La Cocina’s house-made fermented hot sauces.
Collaboration Results in Launch of Hot Sauces
“The hot sauces let the peppers that Egide and Anezi grew speak for themselves,” one of the owners of LaCo. Ben Schneider expressed. Schneider described the process of transforming the peppers into hot sauce. It begins with turning the peppers into a pulp and ends with a month-long ferment. This resulted in two unique, pepper-forward hot sauces with the jalapeños, serranos, and Santa Fe Grande peppers the New Roots farmers grew.
“Purchasing this hot sauce is a great way to support three small local businesses at once, while also celebrating the important contributions that refugees make to our community here in Tucson."
The first is a mild red hot sauce, “half roasted over mesquite, fermented and blended with hop water,” and the second is a green sauce made with, “a fermented blend of the peppers, a little sweeter but still tangy, spicy and delicious,” relayed LaCo through their Instagram.
When Egide was offered the opportunity, he was very eager to collaborate with LaCo. “When I was talking to Ben,” he shared, “he seemed very interested, which made me feel so good because it made me believe what I was doing was right because somebody was liking the product.”
A Perfect Gift
Now with the product finished, Egide and Anezi are ecstatic that the Tucson community can finally taste the peppers that they devoted so much time to carefully grow. “I am so pleased because it makes me feel like what I am doing, the work I am doing is being enjoyed by other people,” Egide said.
The first is a mild red hot sauce, “half roasted over mesquite, fermented and blended with hop water,” and the second is a green sauce made with, “a fermented blend of the peppers, a little sweeter but still tangy, spicy and delicious!"
If you are looking for a holiday gift, are interested in supporting our program or simply just a hot sauce connoisseur, these hot sauces are the perfect purchase. “These peppers were grown less than 3 miles away from the La Cocina kitchen, so you'd be hard-pressed to find a product more local than that,” expressed Carla Vargas-Frank, IRC Tucson’s New Roots Education and Outreach Specialist.
In the future, Vargas-Frank hopes that this collaboration will increase farmers' visibility and attract more local markets and businesses who are interested in working with refugee and migrant communities from IRC’s New Roots program.
Anezi, Egide and several other farmers within the New Roots program continue to look for local businesses, markets and individuals who would like to support their growing farm businesses. You can purchase the hot sauce at the LaCo. restaurant, located at 201 N Court Ave while they last. “Purchasing this hot sauce is a great way to support three small local businesses at once, while also celebrating the important contributions that refugees make to our community here in Tucson,” Vargas-Frank expressed.
Get In Touch
If you would like to know more about New Roots in Tucson or want to get involved with our program:
- Reach out to [email protected]
- Visit our website: Rescue.org/Tucson
- Follow us on Instagram @NewRootsTucson.