I can’t tell this story without a big shout out to Karma’s mom (and gardening neighbor) Laura Chey-Warren who encouraged me to try to make this a business: "This is so good you can quit your day job!" It only took a decade of evening and weekend work for that to be true :-)
Before there was Karma Sauce, there was a garden. A vegetable garden that neighbors shared. We tended to the garden, harvested our bounties, and held canning parties where we all stocked up before the winter months.
This garden was also blessed with a tiny and tenacious guard puppy, recently adopted by one the garden members, who went by the name Karma. Karma was a dog of many contradictions. Even as her paws glistened red from the tomato patch she had just destroyed, she still managed to radiate a warm innocence. The remains of gnawed carrot seed packets strewn about the yard were easy to dismiss when in the presence of her beatific gaze. She was extremely spicy, but very sweet.
It was under Karma's watch...and perhaps in spite of it...that this garden yielded a new type of hot sauce, one with a distinctly regional character. Two versions of the sauce were originally produced, one mild and one hot, but it still didn't have a name.
Gazing upon a fresh batch of Karma's seed packet carcasses one morning, inspiration struck; it's the contradictions! This is a sauce of contradictions! Savory and tangy, mild and hot, sweet and spicy. Nothing would be more fitting than to name the sauce after the dynamic guard pup that stood watch as it developed. Good Karma Sauce and Bad Karma Sauce were born.
Karma the dog depicted on the original Karma Sauce labels.
It's in remembrance of Karma the dog that Karma Sauce participates in Barktober Fest - Walk for the Animals every year. It's a great way to support vital services and programs so that dogs like Karma can find good homes in the community.
Click here to donate to this years walk.
-- Gene Olczak