This is information from the Avery Island brochure about Tabasco.
From pepper pods obtained shortly after the Civil War, Edmund McIlhenny cultivated a crop, invented a product, and founded a company. Today on Avery Island you can see pepper plants like those being nurtured for next year's crop. Seeds from plants grown on the Island are exported to Central and South America, where Tabasco peppers are cultivated and harvested at the peak of their ripeness. Only the choicest peppers from the tropics are used in making Tabasco pepper sauce.
How it's made:
Tabasco pepper sauce was first produced by Edmund McIlhenny from capsicum pepper plants first grown on Avery Island in the post-Civil War era. Its recipe, so unique he was granted a patent on it, is closely followed today.
Each January, seeds of special capsicum peppers are planted in greenhouses; seedlings are transplanted to the fields in April. By August, the peppers reach just the right shade of red and are handpicked. Newly harvested peppers are mashed at the factory with a little Avery Island salt. The mash ferments and ages for three years in white oak barrels. Finally, the aged mash is mixed with special premium vinegar, stirred for a month, strained, and poured into bottles with their familiar red octagonal caps, green foil neckbands and diamond-shaped labels. The caps, neckbands and labels are all registered trademarks.
Much of the world knows about Tabasco pepper sauce, made for over 125 years on Avery Island, Louisiana. Not as many people know that Avery Island is actually a salt dome that extends some eight miles beneath the earth's surface. Or that the protruding "island" part of the formation rising above the surface is home of the world's most beautiful sanctuaries for the preservation and study of flora and fauna.
It was on Avery Island, where salt and pepper meet, that Edward McIlhenny helped save the snowy egret from extinction. In 1895, when the bird was being hunted for its plumage, McIlhenny built an aviary on Avery Island, and then captured and raised 3ithe wold egrets. After they had raised their hatches and were ready to migrate, McIlhenny freed them. The egrets returned the next spring and every spring since then egrets and herons have returned by the thousands to the rookery now called "Bird City."
For his wildlife conservation efforts alone, "Monsieur Ned," as he was known by his French-speaking friends and associates, would be noteworthy. But he did much more to ensure that future generations had an ideal spot to enjoy and study the beauties of nature and to observe plants and flowers from around the world in his Jungle Gardens.