Everybody Panic! There May Be a Tabasco Sauce Shortage
If you've ever ventured into bayou country in Southern Louisiana, you know there's a fine line between land and water, as much of the area sits at, or even slightly below, sea level.
The most visible signs of this convergence can be found in the area's cemeteries, with their elaborate above-ground stone crypts and mausoleums, necessary because below-ground burials are impossible given to proximity of water just beneath the surface of the soil.
That centuries-old relationship between dry land and wet swamp is now threatening the area that supplies the main ingredient of a 150-year staple of the Deep South.
It seems the small island that's home to the peppers used to make Tabasco Sauce since 1868 is slowly sinking.
According to The Guardian, Avery Island, the small stretch of land in the Louisiana marsh that yields the pepper used in the hot sauce, is seeing its surrounding swampland recede by 30 feet a year. The island itself is dropping at a rate of about an inch every three years.
Climate change and development by oil and gas companies are contributing to the demise.
All of that is forcing the McIlhenny family, which is now in its' seventh generation of producing the hot stuff, to rethink their options. They acknowledge that the peppers can be grown in other places, but aren't sure what effect that might have on the quality of the product, which they currently crank out at a pace of 750,000 bottles a year.
So if you are a connoisseur of all things Tabasco, it may be time to stock up.