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After Hail Destroys Crops, Cry Baby Craig's To Use Damaged Peppers In Limited-Release Hot Sauce

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The ramifications of Sunday night's storms are still being felt, and they could have an effect on your dinner table.

The storms rolled through Minnesota late into the night with rain and lots of lightning. And in places like Cannon Falls, hail covered the ground.

WCCO found out how a quick hailstorm caused long-term crop damage, especially to peppers.

From a distance, Sogn Valley Farm in Cannon Falls looks peacefully fruitful, but things aren't as they see, according to farmer Dana Jokela.

"To go to bed with one crop and to wake up with most of it destroyed, [I was] kind of in shock, "Jokela said.

Hail pummeled his crops Sunday night. His peppers took the hardest hit, causing him to lose about 40% of the fruit he's been priming for six months.

"In a lot of those fields, every single one of the fruits has a hole in them, so it's just nothing, nothing more. Your product is basically gone unless you can salvage some of it for crop right away," Jokela said.

The only hope to save some of the crop is to pick and process it right away – and that's when popular Minneapolis entrepreneur and former chef Craig Kaiser, creator of Cry Baby Craig's Hot Sauce, stepped in.

Cry Baby Craig's Hot Sauce
(credit: CBS)

"To know that there's all this time, energy, money and resources to get into a week away from harvesting, and then having so much loss, yeah, it hurts," Kaiser said.

He was originally going to use the large orange habanero crop for his sauce. Instead, he offered to take some of the salvaged crop and make a limited-release sauce with all proceeds going to Jokela and his employees.

"He had this idea to basically say hey, anything that you would otherwise just be turning into the soil, composing and losing out on totally, send it over to me, we'll make a hot sauce out of it, and it will be a one-time, limited-release thing," Jokela said.

So now Kaiser will take his friend's cold hard truth and turn it into a hot new sauce.

"I don't have a name, I don't know what it's gonna look like, I don't know what it's gonna taste like," Kaiser said.

But he can promise it will be good.

Cry Baby Craig's will do a limited release when they finish the hot sauce. Double Take Hot Sauce and Salsa has also offered to take some of the crop.

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