Heat with Heart

Smile Farms serves up hot sauce


After an abundance of peppers were grown at Smile Farms, employees decided on the perfect solution: making, jarring, and selling hot sauce!

The Heat with Heart hot sauce is composed of peppers grown by the Smile farmers with different abilities. On sale now are the fiery red and earthy green sauces, made with hot and sweet peppers, grown across six Smile Farms campus locations.

They plant many varieties of hot peppers like Krimzon Lee, Helio Habanero, and Hungarian Hot Wax, and sweet ones like Escamillo and Roulette. Rather than contracting a fulfillment center, Smile Farm employs six individuals with developmental disabilities, who pack and ship their bottled hot sauce.

At the farms, over 250 farmers get educational, vocational, and paid employment opportunities from the pepper project. Last year, Smile farmers harvested over 2,000 pounds of peppers, bottling over 6,000 hot sauces.

“We’re also excited to share our new relationship with Upstream Hospitality. Smile farmers grow and supply cilantro, basil, and other herbs for their restaurant, The Tap Room Patchogue, to use in their cocktails and tacos,” said a Smile Farms spokesperson. “Currently in its pilot phase, the program is expected to expand to include additional vegetables and herbs from Smile Farms throughout the summer and beyond.”

The story of Smile Farms dates back to 2015 when the founder of 1-800-Flowers, Jim McCann, took a call from IGHL founder Walter Stockton. Together they began to make a world where adults with developmental disabilities and their communities could work.

McCann’s brother, Kevin, lived at the Moriches Independent Group Living—a residence for people with developmental disabilities—where the idea came to help residents like Kevin to flourish with meaningful jobs.

Later that year, the duo partnered with IGHL to open their first Smile Farms campus. Since then, the farm has become a nonprofit leader for agricultural jobs for adults with disabilities.

“For the first time ever, they are able to experience the satisfaction of mastering new skills, the pleasure of contributing to their team and community, and the thrill of taking home a paycheck,” the website states.

Today, Smiles Farms’ campuses are located in Moriches, Manorville, Center Moriches, Yaphank, Brooklyn, Albertson, Oakdale, Riverhead, Staten Island, Wantagh and Middle Island. Each campus is a revenue-generating business that funds employment.  

Smile Farms plants both flowers and fresh produce that are sold at venues throughout the communities. 


Hot sauces are being sold in pairs, either two reds, two greens or a mixed pack, for $25. One hundred percent of the proceeds fund jobs and training for individuals with disabilities.  All Heat with Heart hot sauce orders will be fulfilled by paid Smile Farms employees at their free at Skills Unlimited campus. To purchase visit: https://smilefarms.org/heatwithheart.