KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Jim Smith is the owner of Rushy Springs Farm out of Talbott, Tennesssee, where he grows all of his own peppers to make hot sauce.

Smith spends hours at a time preparing his chilies.  He said his hot sauce is one of the healthiest out there because of his process: he ferments his chilies to make the sauce. 

"By doing a salt brine fermentation I don't have to cook my sauce," Smith explained. "So, there's no loss of flavonoids or nutrients.  It's like eating raw chilies, it's a medicine."

And if you like the health benefits of fermented foods, then he thinks you'll love his hot sauce.

"It's the same process as making sauerkraut, kimchee, yogurt; it's Lactobacillus fermentation," Smith said.

From growing the chilies, to harvesting them and then fermenting them, it takes a full year to create his hot sauce. And his process is different than most commercial ones.


"There are a lot of hot ones made commercially that are much hotter than anything I do," Smith explained. "And the reason is they use concentrated capsicum.  So, they're full of heat, but they've lost all the flavonoids, so the flavor's not there."  

Smith has more than 20 different flavors that he sells at local farmers markets and other area spots. To check out his hot sauce, visit