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Date Established 01/2015
Founder John Crotty
Press Contact Daniel Fitzgerald


Small Axe Peppers Hot Sauce, a certified B-Corp, makes their hot sauces with peppers purchased directly from community gardens and urban farms across the United States. Last year, Small Axe Peppers bought over 11,000 pounds of peppers from 52 community gardens in 35 states across America. That translated to more than $30,000 of direct investment back into urban areas and low-income communities. Since its founding in 2015, Small Axe Peppers has partnered with 122 gardens in 42 cities to purchase almost 30,000 pounds of peppers for more than $80,000.

These gardens are located from The Bronx and Baltimore all the way to Los Angeles and Oakland, from Detroit and Chicago down to Texas and Atlanta, as well as many cities in-between. The gardens are managed by refugees, immigrants, high school students, non-profits, faith groups and community organizations. These gardens are amazing places where people from all walks of life can come together through their shared love of gardening and turn formerly abandoned lots into productive oases of fresh fruits and vegetables. They distribute meals and food to people in need, provide jobs in their neighborhood, and most importantly generate empathy and hope in areas that need it most.

Founding Story

The name Small Axe comes from the ancient proverb that says “if you are the big tree, we are the small axe...” Small Axe Peppers believes that the sum of everyone working together is much greater than our individual parts. Every purchase funds gardeners in their work to create healthier, greener, and more vibrant urban spaces. Small Axe Peppers wants to connect socially conscious consumers all over the country to these community gardens through a 5-ounce bottle of hot sauce.


The Bronx Green Hot Sauce
The Bronx Green Hot Sauce $4.00
The Chicago Hot Sauce
The Chicago Hot Sauce $4.00
The Detroit Hot Sauce
The Detroit Hot Sauce $4.00
Los Angeles Hot Sauce
Los Angeles Hot Sauce $4.00
The Baltimore Hot Sauce
The Baltimore Hot Sauce $4.00
The Texas Hot Sauce
The Texas Hot Sauce $4.00
The Oakland Hot Sauce
The Oakland Hot Sauce $4.00
Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce
Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce $4.00
Habanero Mango Hot Sauce
Habanero Mango Hot Sauce $4.00
Habanero Ginger Hot Sauce
Habanero Ginger Hot Sauce $4.00
The Atlanta Hot Sauce
The Atlanta Hot Sauce $4.00
Queens 7 Hot Sauce
Queens 7 Hot Sauce $4.00
The Bronx Red Hot Sauce
The Bronx Red Hot Sauce $4.00

Team Bios

John has diverse background holding leadership positions in a series of organizations from larger established Governmental entities to startups. Currently in addition to founding a world class hot sauce firm, John and his partners, spend a fair amount of time creating and preserving affordable housing in the NYC metro area . He is a board member of the NYS Gaming Commission as well as NFP Santa Angel’s. His love of gardening was sparked when his older daughter decided to forgo her chance at becoming the next Jackie Mitchell, gardening become the substitute activity for the weekends. He graduated from both college and grad school in reasonable time frames, an occurrence many of his elementary school friend’s still doubt.

Dan is the chief operating person at Small Axe Peppers. A graduate from The NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Studies with a degree in Social Entrepreneurship. Dan has been leading the expansion into other markets while continuing to fuel operational efficiencies of our expanding range of products.


King Phojanakong


see bio

King Phojanakong is at the forefront of the burgeoning Filipino food movement and is the chef-owner of Kuma Inn and Tito King’s Kitchen at Jimmy’s 43, in New York City. King is a NYC native whose culinary influences began at home with the inspirational cooking of his Filipino mother and Thai father. A Culinary Institute of America graduate who worked with Daniel Boulud at “ Daniel” and David Bouley at “The Danube”. Chef King has been featured in television programs including Cutthroat Kitchen, The Rachael Ray Show, Food(ography), Selling New York and Mike Colameco’s Real Food. King was a presenter at CIA’s Flavor, Quality and American Menus 2012, Worlds of Flavor 2013, Worlds of Flavor 2015 and Flavor Summit 2016. Off line he likes to spin old school hip hop, jam on his Fender Strat and play pinball with his daughter.


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Yahoo Life - Mar 14, 2023 Small Axe Peppers Announces New CEO and Launches Community Gardens Awareness Tour "America's mission-based hot sauce company, Small Axe Peppers, is proud to announce the appointment of Daniel Fitzgerald as its new President & CEO. Daniel is succeeding John A. Crotty who will become Chairman. As part of his new role, Daniel will embark on a cross-country Community Gardens Awareness Tour to highlight the people, places and partners who make up the Small Axe community. Along the way, he will document his journey and share it on the brands' social media channels."
Nextpert News - Dec 15, 2022 ABC World News Tonight with David Muir "Made in America highlights #communitygarden grown #peppers and #farmers who make these #gardens thrive. #smallaxe peppers continues to grow as more and more gardens participate and more consumers learn about our economic model"
Nextpert News - Oct 06, 2022 Community gardens offer 'green oasis spaces in urban environments': Small Axe Peppers CEO "This segment originally aired on October 5, 2022 Small Axe Peppers CEO John Crotty breaks down the hot sauce company's partnerships with community gardens and small businesses, the impacts of supply chain issues and inflation, and its latest hot sauce recipes."
Nextpert News - Jul 21, 2022 Backstage garden brings the heat at Forrest’s Hills Stadium "While crews at Forest Hills Stadium prepared for the next concert of their 2022 season, backstage something is growing. They are peppers to be used to make hot sauce. “They should get two or three harvests from these plants, in August, maybe early September and then in late September,” Small Axe Peppers Co-Founder, John Crotty, said. Small Axe Peppers are being grown backstage at Forest Hills Stadium and the hot sauce will be used in food and drinks at the venue this summer It’s an onsite community garden grown from pepper seeds provided by Small Axe Peppers Hot Sauce. It started in the Bronx in 2014 with a goal of connecting people to the community gardens and urban farms in their neighborhoods. The program expanded to Queens and now it’s in over 120 gardens in 23 states. Small Axe donates the seeds and buys back the peppers at premium prices. “There’s a bigger picture involved here, it’s very aspirational and it’s been a very positive message,” Crotty said. Small Axe Peppers is the official hot sauce in residence at the nearly 100-year-old concert venue and onetime home of the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament. Appropriately, the parties were brought together through music, in the form of New York-based band AJR, who played the stadium in May. “We were just lucky enough to get this nice little sliver of land, it’s got great sun and good soil and we’ve been able to convert it into our own version of a community garden,” Jason Brandt, general manager of the stadium, said. Visitors can experience the hot sauce at participating food vendors and, if 21 plus, in drinks like spicy margaritas and Palomas. Small Axe also has its own booth where folks can find out more about the peppers and the growing program. “It’s been a great way to really talk about what we are doing, and help bring that sense of community to everyone that comes in here,” Crotty said."
Examiner - Aug 19, 2021 Power in seeds: Urban gardening gains momentum in pandemic
NBC NY Spicing Up The Bronx & Giving Back
LA Times A community garden hopes its cash crop is a hot sauce called Los Angeles
New York Times Personal Finance Hot Peppers Becoming A Cash Crop For Bronx Community Gardens
Gothamist An artisinal hot sauce not made in NYCs most branded borough
Nextpert News Hot Sauce with a cause



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