Chili Pepper Specialty Crops Trial

Funder: California Department of Food and Agriculture, Specialty Crop Block Grant

Partners: University of California Cooperative Extension, Uesugi Farms

Date of project: 2013 – 2014

As part of increasing specialty crop production in the Coyote Valley, SAGE partnered with UC Cooperative Extension in a chili pepper specialty crop production plot trial.  The chili pepper plot was grown on Uesugi Farms land, which has 80 acres of farmland in the Coyote Valley. The trial featured 68 different types of chili pepper production, data of which was systematically recorded to be used for agricultural research purposes, especially for viability of pepper production in Coyote Valley. Hundreds of pounds of chilies were harvested over the growing season, most of them distributed for culinary uses to local restaurants and chefs in the Bay Area.  The chili pepper trial was also used as a learning tool for field days and seminars, and as a point of public interest and engagement in Coyote Valley through being featured at the Coyote Valley Family Harvest Feast.

SAGE and UC Cooperative Extension hosted two field days focusing on chili pepper cultivation.  The first field day hosted the Santa Clara County Master Gardeners and International Culinary Students Farm to Table students.  The second field day was a pepper field day and seminar open to the general public with a targeted audience of beginning farmers, farmers in Santa Clara County, agricultural academics, and other food systems professionals.

SAGE collaborated with local chefs of the Bay Area to sample and experiment with different chili pepper varieties for relevant culinary uses.  Chefs were given an extensive sampling of chili pepper varieties based on what was recently harvested and relevant to culinary uses.  Chefs were encouraged to use the pepper varieties in whatever ways interested them, ideally featuring the pepper as a main part of the recipe.. Chefs were also reached out to regarding creating a chili sample for the Coyote Valley Family Harvest Feast.   All samples were met with great enthusiasm at the Family Harvest Feast, with many attendees inquiring to where and how chilies could be purchased.

Relevant Publications and other projects

 

Coyote Valley Work

 

Coyote Valley Chili Pepper Type Primer: List and description of the 60+ pepper varieties grown in the trial.

CV Feasibility Study

[other CV sub projects- high school, production trials, DCV]