J: Today we are here with Martin Olsen from Moe Mountain Hot Sauce. He is going to be sharing with us a little bit about how he started the business and the origins of the name Moe Mountain. This is my favorite hot sauce that I've ever had. It's won lots of awards.
J: Our first question is, when did you start the business Moe Mountain Hot Sauce?
Martin: It started in 2015. I started making hot sauce about 10-15 years ago. I got a Bed Bath & Beyond gift bag hot sauce kit and I ran with it. I started making hot sauce for my friends
Martin: I joined the volunteer fire department up the mountain and the other firefighters told me the history of Moe Mountain. They then recommended that I called the hot sauce, Moe Mountain Hot Sauce.
Kay: What inspired you to make hot sauce?
Martin: I love spicy food and I loved hot sauce. I was getting a little tired of Franks and Tabasco, not that I don't love them. I wanted to make my own. This kit came about and I learned about making hot sauce.
Kay: Did you ever get your hands irritated or your eyes irritated?
Martin: Yes, do not rub your eyes after touching hot peppers!
J: Once someone gave me a ghost pepper and I was playing guitar. After touching the pepper, got a little bit of the oil on my fingers then proceeded to play guitar while holding the guitar pick. Then a year later I picked up that same pick and then got the oil on my
fingers and rubbed my eyes! I wondered why my eyes were burning. Then I remembered the last time I touched this pick was a year ago after touching the ghost pepper.
Kay: Why is it called Moe Mountain Hot Sauce?
Martin: Ira W. Moe owned all the land on the top of the mountain, and people used to say they would go over Moe Mountain to go to Action Park. John Buonanno, a fire chief on company 5 with me taught me the history of UGL and said, "If you're going to name it anything, name it Moe Mountain Hot Sauce."
Martin: I like history, I want the kids to know where they came from.
J: When did Moe Mountain become Upper Greenwood Lake?
Martin: Around 1936. Moe's Horseshoe Tavern was a nine-hole golf course where the soccer field now is. It had skiing and you can actually still see drums inside the trees where they would pull people with a rope up the mountain. It was a health resort.
When that closed down it was then called Mountain Laurel. That's why it's called Mountain Laurel Park.
If you go to the West Milford Museum, a lot of the furniture is still in there, all handmade. Some of the beams, too.
J: That's an awesome thing to name the hot sauce after. So you have something to talk about around this simple bottle of hot sauce.
Kay: It gives some history some backstory to the actual sauce and how you created it and where you were when you created it.
Martin: It also says on there, Support Your Local Volunteers. It doesn't matter what you're doing, we need more volunteers.
Kay: You volunteer with the fire department, right?
Martin: Yes, I'm with Company 5.
Kay and J: Thank you for your service.
Kay: What is your favorite part of the hot sauce? What flavor or aspect of it makes it your favorite?
Martin: The cocoa from the Pennsylvania Dutch. It give s mole flavor.
Martin: Growing up in Brooklyn, all my friends I would go to everybody's mother's house and they would cook Spanish, Russian, or Chinese. And you get a feel for all the different foods what are. Chicken mole, it has chocolate and 13 different peppers in it. That's what I loved. I'm characterizing it after that.
Kay: Your hot sauce has won lots of awards, can you tell us more about that?
Martin: Our first award a couple years ago was for taco sauce. The World Hot Sauce Award. A lot of different countries entered. We won Third Place in the world.
J and Kay: Amazing!
Martin: It's incredible, yeah. I just woke up one morning and I check my email. I'm like, oh my God. I was freaking out.
Martin: We also won International Flavor Awards, and some others.
J: Did you just get lucky with this recipe or did you do a lot of trial
Martin: A lot of trial and error. When I started, I just did it for fun. I had a banana hot sauce, a strawberry hot sauce, etc.
Martin: I started using white vinegar, then I switched to Apple Cider Vinegar.
Kay: Where is the hot sauce sold?
Martin: It's sold in many places, see this link: https://www.moemountainhotsauce.com/locations
Events: https://goo.gl/VzFw7b Jeep Jam at the Warwick Drive-In
Kay: What other hobbies do you have?
Martin: We're adopting a little girl. It'as a long process. Also, I like blacksmithing. I took a blacksmith class: http://www.centerformetalarts.com/blacksmithing.html
Kay: Do you have anything else that you want people to know?
Martin: Learn the history of wherever you live. And support your local volunteers
J and Kay: Thank you for your time.