I had not ventured to the Hollister Farmer's Market in years. Somewhere along the way, it lost it's charm.
Two weeks ago under a clear blue sky and a gentle afternoon breeze, I made my way Downtown.
My first stop was the certified organic produce section. I tasted a piece of fruit from each of the white plastic bowls at the first stand. Pluots, nectarines, plurines, grapes and cantaloupes. With a big grin on my face, I made a b-line to the other side.
As I sauntered passed the vendor stands, I spotted the Blazingwood BBQ sign. There was Ray Jones and his wife. Here is our conversation.
A MAN ON A MISSION
Ray's journey in the world of BBQ sauces began 30 years ago. He and his friend would get together regularly and barbeque beef ribs. But the sauce they used was proclaimed not tasty enough. He wanted something more. Ray then made it his mission to create a sauce that would top anything on the market
A visit to Safeway Supermarket ensued.
With a haughty chuckle, Ray said he bought every bottle of sauce (totaling 6), that he could find . Then made his way home. Just think, 30 years ago choices were limited. Unlike the confusing choices we have today.
Life was simpler
Back in his house, Ray began to experiment. He examined every ingredient listed on the label and started his idea-machine. Through trial and error he found the formula.
Ray's Original BBQ Sauce was born.
SIMPLE, SWEET, AWARD WINNING SAUCE
Ray arrived at the formula using basic BBQ sauce ingredients and combining them with his own secret stuff. His sauces have won awards in California and Nevada for its simple sweet taste. In addition to the Original Flavor, there's:
- Pineapple Teriyaki
- Gringo Hot
- Muy Caliente
Selling his sauce for the past 3 years has brought a lot of joy to Ray's life. He gets to do what he loves every day; enjoy the companionship of his wife and travel a lot.
THE MAN WITH THE TERIYAKI PINEAPPLE SAUCE
As I chatted with Ray, a yellow t-shirt clad passerby pointed and yelled out" Pineapple Teriyaki Sauce, Right?"
Ray burst into a full laugh as he explained. The Pineapple Teriyaki has become his signature and best-selling sauce. It's been used on breakfast pancakes (or so Ray's been told). The sauce is so popular, even the CHP officers know about it. (Maybe it saved him from getting a ticket?)
I told Ray, he should consider printing new T-Shirts with "Pineapple Teriyaki" Sauce to add to his collection. That brought another hearty laugh from Ray.
"I DON'T HAVE THE PATIENCE FOR RIB COOK-OFFS"
Ray confessed he loves to work at Farmer's Markets and Rib Cook-Off events. I asked him if he does ribs as well.
"I don't have the patience for that stuff, " he said. "It's a lot of hard work and standing behind the hot BBQ pit. And that's not a lot of fun".
He prefers to sit behind his table and converse with folks as they stop by. Ray gets a "kick" out of seeing the reaction when someone tastes his sauce for the first time!
IT'S ALL HANDMADE
At Blazingwood, the sauce is all handmade. Ray produces 6-7 batches every other week. One batch yields 50 bottles. Along with his wife and one of his sons, they get the job done. The ingredients are all local. With no preservatives, Ray stands by the quality of his products.
On a good day at the Reno Cook-off, sales peaked at 50 cases. A case has 12 bottles.
"SELLING MY SAUCE IS A FORM OF LEGALIZED GAMBLING"
Ray says he's always on the road. Making his way to his next Farmer's Market or Rib Cook-off event. It's not always fun. Once he drove from San Jose to a festival in Temecula, outside of San Diego and no one showed up! He lost a ton of money. Then he quipped, "Selling my sauce is a form of legalized gambling. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't".
He continues to do what he loves. Making great-tasting BBQ sauces.
You can catch Ray Jones and his Blazingwood Sauces in person at:
Or you can order from his website. Check it out and let me know what you think. I am working my way through the sampler pack. So far it's a winner in my house.