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ABOUT Marketplace UncappeD

Uncapped, the Event, is a Guyanese Agro-processors Exhibition, Market and Food Festival.

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Monday - Friday: 09:00 - 18:30 157 Waterloo St., North Cummingsburg, Georgetown, Guyana 592-223-7405

It all began in 2013 when an innovative and resourceful agro-processor named Anne Peters-Bristol did something perplexing that would have easily begged the question: Why on earth would a hairdresser, cake decorator and florist buy 60 pounds of hot peppers? It was such an impulsive, unusual act that even Anne herself would have been hard-pressed to give a reasonable answer.

The reason Anne bought the peppers was because she had an idea, one as simple as it was revolutionary: Buy a lot of hot peppers; blend them; make a batch of exquisite bottled hot-sauce and turn it into a business. It was with a bold, risky plan and Anne wasn’t sure how successful her mission would have been. Prior to venturing into business, Anne made hot-sauces for her relatives and friends for some time, and her sauces tasted so good that everyone had encouraged her to bottle and sell them. 

Anne has dedicated lots of time and energy to Guyana’s agro-processing sector with the production of high-quality local condiments, especially an aromatic and spicy achar, hot sauce, Chinese sauce and cassareep under her business name, Anne’s Products.

Almost immediately, it made her cry literally. Anne found out the hard way that the fumes from blending a lot of hot peppers were a scorching irritant to her skin and eyes. As her tears flowed, she wondered if she would be able to complete what she had gotten herself into.

Nevertheless, she poured her blended hot-sauce into a large bottle and left it to cure for a month. After the month had passed, Anne poured the hot-sauce into jars, took them to the market and asked vendors to sell them for her.

To her surprise, all were sold and vendors reported that customers were asking for more. This inspired Ann and her doubts vanished. She promptly bought more hot peppers, blended them on her kitchen counter and started bottling her sauce again.

In the process, she cheerfully overworked five regular blenders until they crashed and burned. This caused her to acquire a heavy-duty blender that is now the mainstay of her operation.

In her first three years in the business of making condiments, industrious Anne expanded her range of products to include three new varieties of spicy achar—tamarind, mango and souree. She also added the popular spicy ‘lime-pepper’ pickle, which now graces the shelves of many satisfied customers’ refrigerators.

As business grew, Anne expanded even further to produce cassareep, Chinese sauce, preserved carambola, plus a blended green seasoning mix. Her products inspire unusual devotion from customers in the traditionally fickle local market.

Describing her signature hot sauce, Anne said that peppers are combined, garlic, bilimbie (souree), salt and other seasonings are all combined and cured to create a spicy fusion in a vinegar solution.

Among her most vivid memories of the first time she approached the Guyana Shop as a retail outlet for her products and, for the first time, she heard about stringent food-safety and packaging requirements.  She was told that her products had to be analysed and approved by Guyana’s Food and Drug Department, along with other licensing requirements. She was also advised to discard the black-and-white labels she was using at the time, and get professional, machine-readable labels with bar-codes.

Anne now has three assistants who help her prepare her products, and she visits supermarkets almost weekly with new supplies made from fresh local ingredients. She also takes her products to various villages across Guyana to sell them directly and get instant feedback from customers.

“My job is very hectic…I market, I merchandise, I distribute…” she said. It’s a heavy workload because she still has a hands-on approach to production. She does the bulk of the preparatory work herself while still preparing family meals and doing household chores.

However, Anne loves what she does. She said she is now immune to the fumes from blending peppers, and her biggest challenge is sourcing bottles and jars. She is rightfully pleased with the extent to which her business has grown from the time she started, but she wants it to expand even further.