By Joe Cowan
Director of Operations
At the farmers market in Morgantown, West Virginia, I became known as “The Pepper Guy.” I even have a shopping bag with that moniker stitched on it.
That’s because I’ve been on a search for interesting and flavorful peppers, both sweet and spicy, for a few years, and I have come across some wonderfully delicious varieties.
Peppers are one of the easier fruits to crossbreed and to create an entirely new variety that exhibits the traits of one or both of the parents. For this reason, a tremendous variety of peppers is available. Some peppers are better for storage, some better for drying and powdering for our Pepper Salt, and some are best used in a pickled or lacto-fermented sauce.
I typically choose large, red, fleshy, and medium to very spicy types to use for my annual fermented hot sauce. About five pounds of cherry hots and red jalapeños will make enough hot sauce to last a year. Spicy hot sauce is such a treat to have in the middle of winter; it will remind you of your favorite farmer at the market and give whatever dish you are making a real kick.
6-quart fermentation crock
Happy Spring, everyone! As I type this on an early Sunday morning, we are having a beautiful early spring here in the Northeast. Our new garden fence is up, the garden beds are slowly being made, the greenhouse is nearly finished, and seedlings are in the greenhouse planter boxes. For me, spring represents many things, but on a completely practical level it means the transition from “exercise” to doing actual work with my body. Shoveling, pushing a wheel barrow through mud, pitch forking hay — these are my favorite ways to work up a sweat and start the day.