The Local Food Report: peppers, sweet & spicy

I'm already thinking about next year's garden. I like to think about these things now, this time of year, while the season's successes, failures, and inspirations are still fresh in my mind. And what I've been thinking recently is that I'd like to grow some peppers next year. Specifically, some Islander peppers, like Chris Murphy's purple beauties:

Aren't they gorgeous? Every week at the Wellfleet Farmers' Market, Murph has a whole rainbow of peppers. He's got the pale green almost yellow Cubanelles, the dark green Poblanos, the hot red Lipstick peppers, and the green-to-red Anchos. (Also known as Tiberons—that's sharks in Spanish—very apropos, as Murph pointed out, for our summer here.)

Murph says you've got to plant your peppers early, but not too early. If you're doing tomatoes and eggplants mid March, for instance, you should start these in the first few weeks of April. He was planting them all together, but the germination rates in March for the peppers was terrible. He reordered his seed, and three weeks later, it was a whole different ball game. 100% germination, 100% success.

The nice thing about peppers is that they're good for just about anything. Stuffing, slicing, dipping, throwing in sauces, you name it. Stuffing, though, is Murph's favorite. The thing about stuffed peppers is you can throw just about anything in there—beans, meat, seafood—whatever's in the fridge. Just mix it with some bread crumbs, top it with cheese or basil or maybe even some bacon, and throw it under the broiler for a few minutes.

But in case you need a recipe, here are two. One vegetarian, one not-so-vegetarian. Keep an eye out at the farmers' markets—peppers are here, full force.


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All text, photographs, and other original material copyright 2008-2010 by Elspeth Hay unless otherwise noted.