“Why are your hot peppers so expensive?”
It’s a question we hear sometimes at market, and we aren’t always sure how to answer it.
On Saturday Amy replied that it’s a lot of work to grow them. The woman who asked the question was amazed that we actually grew our hot peppers, and incredulous that it would involve work. ?? I usually respond by suggesting they really are not expensive.
This season’s pepper patch – smaller plants, with holes where plants have died. But there is a good crop or peppers & still lots of blossoms. If we have a warmer fall there should be peppers for a long time yet.
For the record, we sell our hot peppers individually for 25 cents each. There’s a reason for this. We used to sell the peppers in pints or half pint boxes but realized that people usually just wanted 1 or 2 peppers for a recipe, rather than a whole container. We don’t deal in nickels or dimes at market – for efficiency – so a quarter was the logical amount to charge. Some of the larger peppers sell for 50 cents even. Should a customer want a large amount of peppers, we of course give a better price. Most customers like the option of being able to try several different kinds of peppers without having to buy a whole box.
Here’s a picture of our hot pepper display the other year at market (peppers in the middle row on the table).12 kinds of hot peppers arranged in order of hotness! (name labels are not visible in the photo).
Peppers have been slow to mature this season. We’ve only been picking a few peppers of the milder varieties for a couple of weeks now and the hotter varieties are still several weeks from harvest.
Peppers so far include (from top left, moving clockwise) poblano, Hungarian hot wax, jalapeno, serrano and shishito.
Shishito peppers are our latest pepper to try. Our son cooked in a restaurant in Vancouver and they are all the rage there, so we tried growing them. They grew well last season and sold quite well too, so we are growing them again this year. They are an heirloom Japanese pepper, bright green, with a sweet, fruity flavour and thin, tender, wrinkled skin. What makes a shishito exciting is that 1 in 10 peppers will be hot – and occasionally quite hot! They are simple to prepare and delicious to eat – certainly my new favourite pepper!
Heat olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add some minced fresh garlic. Cook the peppers whole, turning occasionally, until they begin to blister on all sides. Sprinkle with salt (and maybe a sprinkle of lemon or lime juice) and serve immediately. Eat the whole pepper – except the stem.
We are just starting to see the sweet peppers change colour & ripen too. There should be some in the CSA boxes this week or next.
Peppers in the field …
What’s in the box?
Shishito peppers, zucchini, beans, bok choy, lettuce, cucumbers,
tomatoes, blackberries, garlic.
- Try these delicious Shishito peppers! See description & recipe above.
- Our new zucchini plants are growing like weeds and producing large amounts of beautiful & tasty zucchini.
- There will be beans in your box again this week – either green beans or Dragon’s Tongue. These are a flat bean – pale yellow with purple stripes. The flavour is great – flat beans are usually considered to taste better than round beans! Note that the purple stripes will disappear when the beans are cooked.
- Bok choy is back! Both the bok choy & lettuce prefer the less hot & humid weather we’ve had lately (until today!).
- Our cucumber plants are finally looking a bit weary. They have been producing prodigious amounts for several weeks now – and continue to do so. But the end is in sight! Enjoy cucumbers in your box again this week.
- The tomato plants are still healthy – unusual for late August. Lots of new growth with many little tomatoes forming. It has been a great tomato year!
- The recent rains have been a great help for the blackberry canes. They continue to ripen berries but the amounts are already decreasing. Enjoy a box of berries in your share.
- We put a garlic bulb in the CSA box each week. Garlic lovers probably eat it all, while others are able to store bulbs to use later in the fall season. Remember to keep it dry and away from any moisture for maximum storage life.
Cleaning garlic is always a welcome job to finish the day – especially a hot Monday!