Most folks save the best for last. I’m starting right out of the gate with mine. I’m so excited about growing this pepper this year. This pepper matures in 80-90 days from transplant, its fruits are 10-12 ” long and the plants can reach 24″. The grow in full sun in neutral to acidic soil and are quite prolific as long as they are not over-watered. This pepper is light and sweet when eaten raw. Considered one of the very best frying pepper as its raw juicy flavor becomes rich and buttery when fried. They are harvested in fall when they turn from kelly green to a mature fire engine red. They are also the best sweet pepper for drying for. To dry them, string them on a thread with a needle, careful to pierce them through the stem and not the fruit. Hang them in a sunny window or on a porch to dry.
However, I always like to know the story behind any heirloom veggie. This veggie has a great one. It was grown in the mountainous region of Basilicata in southern Italy. There Guiseppe and Angela Nardiello nurtured a favorite variety of sweet frying pepper. They grew them in terraced gardens on hillsides. When they set sail from the port of Naples in 1887 for a new life in America, Angela carried her one year old daughter Anna and a handful of pepper seeds with them. The settled in Naugatuck Connecticut where they raised eleven children and peppers. The fourth child Jimmie was the only child who showed any interest in gardening. Jimmie passed away in 1983 but before he did he donated some of these wonderful heirloom pepper seeds to Seed Savers Exchange, in Iowa. Now over 100 years after the they set sail from Italy the pepper that bears their name is endangered to being lost forever. By growing and saving the seeds from this wonderful pepper and encouraging chefs and cooks alike to grow and use this wonderful pepper we will be doing our part to protect the world’s endangered flavors. We hope you enjoy these wonderful peppers in your share this season! We will be posting recipes here and in your newsletter at harvest time!