A Pepper Grows in The Bronx…and Queens…and Detroit….

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You may know that I am a passionate proponent of The Bronx. I was born in The Bronx, educated in the Bronx public school system, and earned a degree from Fordham University’s Bronx Rose Hill campus.

I just learned about a food company that not only produces amazing hot sauces, but through its business model, provides financial resources for community gardens all over the country. This company, which began with raising peppers in these small urban green patches, was actually born in my hometown borough. Since its inception in the Bronx and then Queens, the company has expanded to major metropolitan areas.

With a great title, Small Axe Peppers (as in small acts of kindness), connects consumers directly to urban farmers in 36 cities across the US. From Hartford to Oakland, Chicago to San Antonio, Small Axe Peppers grows the produce, manufactures, and bottles some pretty smokin’ hot sauces. The chef, King Phojanakong, creates the many recipes utilizing these peppers. Chef King is a CIA graduate, has worked with Daniel Boulud and has been featured on numerous television cooking shows.

Each community garden growing these pepper varieties has a story behind it. Not only does Small Axe Peppers help sustain these thriving gardens, but in many cases, give purpose to individuals involved with the farming.

We live in a world where we must do better. We must find ways to produce amazing products and serve a purpose to sustain, help fund and give back to communities in need. Small Axe Peppers, a certified B Corporation, does just that. https://smallaxepeppers.com/


  • Five-time Billboard Award-winning media personality Valerie Smaldone is a theatre, food, lifestyle and entertainment enthusiast. She is a celebrity interviewer, accomplished voice-over artist and actress. Recent appearances on episodic tv include Law and Order, Criminal Intent, The Other Two (on HBO Max), Tommy, Manifest and Blue Bloods. She is an audiobook narrator and producer. A live event emcee, moderator, and "Voice of God" at events and award ceremonies, Valerie has joined The Story Plant Entertainment Company and is currently working on a film and Broadway play. Visit her website at www.valeriesmaldone.com

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