Doug Crane greets you with a twinkle in his eye when you visit his table at the farmers’ market. He is one of the most positive, energetic and friendly people one could ever meet. Most Saturdays he is dressed in his signature short-sleeved button-down shirt, slightly too large, adorned with brightly colored shapes and sizes of peppers – the hot kind he uses in the sauces he makes. An ominous-looking shiny stuffed dragon glares down upon the proceedings. Passionate about what he creates, he loves to pour a small spoonful as he waits to see and hear your response to the taste sensation your brain is processing… hopefully you are embracing the experience and loving it as much as he does.
Doug Crane, creator of Dragon’s Blood Elixer
Doug has been producing, bottling and selling his Dragon’s Blood Elixir hot sauces for over six years. He began creating hot sauce in the early 1990s as a result of making an excess of salsa while working as a chef.
“The [extra] 5-gallon pail started to ferment, so I dumped it in a pan and roasted it, and it smelled so good, I knew I had to do something with it,” Doug said. “The resulting puree was spectacular and started me on the path to alchemy.”
After that experience Doug became more interested in making hot sauce to complement a meal rather than producing the actual meal itself.
Doug was a manager in the food service industry but faced a crossroad when his independent company was replaced by a larger corporate food service, and he decided to take the plunge into entrepreneurship. Having no business skills, he has had to learn along the way. His “retirement” career began slightly early, but he has enjoyed the journey so far.
Doug brings a wide variety of sauces to each market.
At the start of the farmers’ market season there are seven different “menu” sauces that never change and are always available. In addition, Doug carries a number of “specialty” sauces that he creates based on the availability of seasonal ingredients from locally grown fruits and vegetables. He creates his own colorful, whimsically eye-catching labels and displays a “heat list” for consultation as to the spiciness or “hotness” of any given sauce.
Doug uses a “heat scale” from 1-15 to gauge the hotness of his sauces.
“Farmers markets are the absolute best way for an artisanal hot sauce maker to connect with customers”,Doug explained, “with the added bonus of working in such a positive setting- everyone wants to be there! There is no room for pessimism in entrepreneurship. What a change from my high-stress cooking career- I can’t believe it took so long to make the jump. We started out by renting a space in Woodstock; we are now outgrowing our facility in Putnam on Church Street. We are in the process of planning our dream kitchen.
We’ve won a couple of awards and are well- regarded in the hot sauce industry, getting invited to more hot sauce festivals than we can manage. We’ve sent sauces to all fifty states and around the world. The only continent “un-sauced” is Antarctica!” These are cooking sauces; the flavors speak for themselves. Stop by and we can taste and talk about how you can work these into your repertoire. Your family is in for a new adventure.”
“Are you fond of hot sauce?”
Visit Doug’s booth at Ellington Farmer’s Market this summer May 9th-Oct17th. Even if you are not a lover of spicy hot sauces, he can advise you on how to use some of his more mild creations to flavor any dish and add a little “zing” to your favorite recipes. Half the fun is meeting Doug; he is truly a farmers’ market treasure and a favorite of many of our most loyal patrons.
Doug’s happy customers
Written by: Margaret Cavanagh