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A hot and lifesaving sauce

Veterans farm key to success

Growing Veterans’ Lynden Farm works to help veterans reintegrate into society. Photo credit: Growing Veterans

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In a fashion, a hot sauce can save lives.

"Fire in The Hole hot sauce is made from our own certified organic garlic, peppers and our on-site raw honey," began Angela Sullivan, executive assistant for Growing Veterans, an organization that helps veterans.

"These bottles pack just the right balance, heat and sweet."

The idea for Fire in The Hole hot sauce began a few years ago as the result of a conversation at a public market between a Growing Veterans' staff member and Erin Keedy, owner of El Fuego Pepper Sauce.

"We were located next to her table, and we began talking about a hot sauce," related Sean Dalgran, an Air Force veteran and the communications and outreach manager for Growing Veterans.

"We agreed to provide the bulk of the ingredients from our three-acre farm for the sauce, and she agreed to make it."

The sales generated by Fire in The Hole helps to save lives.

"Our vision is to end the isolation that leads to veteran suicide," continued Dalgran.

The mission to grow lives began in 2012 when Marine veterans Chris Brown and Christina Wolf, a former mental health counselor, created Growing Veterans.

They began Lynden Farm to cultivate purpose and belonging by allowing veterans to grow food, community and each other.

"Brown noticed a need for veterans to reintegrate back into society because ... of what he had faced in Iraq," continued Dalgran.

Growing Veterans' Lynden Farm is located at 6458 Martin Place in Lynden, Washington.

In 2018, Growing Veterans received the highest level of recognition offered by GuideStar, the Platinum Seal of Transparency, for its focus on reporting outcomes and financial integrity.

"While working in the fields, though, we talk about our military and wartime experiences, and challenges we're having ... we even laugh and poke fun at each other, sometimes ruthlessly, because that's what camaraderie is all about," added Dalgran.

Besides the garlic, peppers and raw honey used to stoke the Fire in The Hole hot sauce, Lynden Farm also grows organic hops, beets, carrots, lettuce, kale, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, cabbage, pumpkins and varieties of herbs.

"We sell our produce to Semiahmoo Resort; we partner with ASLAN Brewing to produce our Charlie Foxtrot IPA," continued Dalgran.

Since 2015, Growing Veterans' Lynden Farm has produced 91,000 pounds of food.

Besides growing produce, Growing Veterans also offers peer support training.

An accredited hands-on learning experience, the three-day training helps mental health providers, veterans, and individuals with a variety of challenging personal experiences to use them to help support others. 

"I've had veterans tell me that Growing Veterans and what we produce ‘saved my life,'" continued Dalgran.

"They were looking for something that was missing and Growing Veterans was able to provide the crucial piece that stopped this person from doing something harmful to themselves."

A bottle of Fire in The Hole hot sauce can help.

The Fire in The Hole hot sauce can be purchased on-line at

For information about Growing Veterans, visit:

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