SELLING HOT PROPERTY Arnold woman gets into family business of Peppers


There's only one word to describe the flavors in Allison Bailey's house -- hot.

That's because the Arnold resident has sauces made from some of the hottest peppers in the world sitting in her dining room, and she's selling them to those who hunger for the heat.

With names like the Delaware Destroyer, Hot Buns on the Beach, Dave's Gourmet Insanity Sauce, and Ho Ho Hot, the sauces are selling nationwide from gourmet restaurants to lingerie shops.

Mrs. Bailey's parents, brother and sister recently recruited her to be the Maryland representative for Peppers, a store they run in Dewey Beach, Del., where they collect sauces from around the world.

"I just quit my job and said I'm ready to do it," the former real estate agent said.

Her first attempt to push the sauce will be this weekend at the 15th annual Ulmstead Showcase Craft Show. The fair will feature hand-painted clothing and other crafts, baked goods, and Mrs. Bailey's sauces.

Organizers hope to raise about $500 for the Hospice of the Anne Arundel Medical Center.

Mrs. Bailey plans to bring about 30 different types of sauces for visitors to sample. She will be selling gift baskets wrapped in hot-pepper-decorated cellophane and filled with sauces, hot peanuts, candies and other goodies. One basket, made by disabled workers at the Providence Center in Arnold, comes with chips and a salsa bowl.

Mrs. Bailey said the family's passion for peppers began about eight years ago as a hobby for her parents, who own the Starboard, a boardwalk restaurant where they hold Bloody Mary smorgasbords on the weekends.

They eventually began collecting hot sauces and vodkas and got the idea for Peppers when customers said they liked the drinks, but wanted to have the sauces.

Today they have more than 2,400 different kinds of hot sauce -- the largest collection in the world, according to Chili Pepper magazine.

"We have chili-heads coming from all over to taste these sauces," said Chip Hearn, Mrs. Bailey's brother.

"People are absolutely addicted to it. It's a riot," Mrs. Bailey agreed.

According to Mr. Hearn, the addiction is not only in people's minds.

A chemical in peppers causes the brain to think the mouth is being burned, and the brain releases endorphins to ease the pain.

"You feel the hot of the pepper, and you sweat a little bit, and then you feel really good," said Mr. Hearn. "You can become addicted to the endorphin rush you get."

The Ulmstead Showcase Craft Show will be at the barn on Lynch Road 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

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