WEEK #11 MARCH 11th, 2024

Dear Customers,

There’s something about the first week of March that I find comfortingly hopeful!  Sure, it’s still rainy, snowy, icy, gray and cold some days, but there exists the possibility of the complete opposite occurring.  You get it all in March!  But at least the ultra-cold temperatures are behind us and perennial bulbs have begun poking their colorful heads out of the snow and ice!  Robins are a common site in the neighborhood and large “V’s” of Canada geese can be heard most evenings winging their noisy way from Hamlin Lake to wherever it is they spend the night!

Another advantage for me when the calendar flips over to the third month is that it’s no longer too early to begin some seeds under a grow light in the warmest room in my house.  Certain hot peppers take far longer to germinate than other vegetables (tomatoes generally take a week or less), and it works out better for a late summer harvest if I can get a jump on them the first week of March.  You’d swear at first, they weren’t even going to come up, then gradually, a few at a time they begin poking spindly heads out of the soil.  Even when they’re in the garden, in late summer, they don’t look like they’re going to amount to much.

I have to wait until just before the first frost to harvest them as they need all the growing time they can muster-even with the earlier start.  I take them to the meat department where they’re dehydrated over several days making them easier to grind providing a more homogenous medium for mixing with the ground pork and trim.  A lot of men and even some women that I have known take great pride in proclaiming, “I love hot food, the hotter the better!”

The trouble with the word, “hot”, when it comes to things you stick in your mouth is that it is completely relative.  What is comfortably “warm” to some is excruciatingly spicy to others.  Here’s a little comparison between pepper varieties that may give you some perspective.  A jalapeno pepper registers about 8000 units on the Scoville scale, a guide for comparing the relative “hotness” among peppers, and many people find these little devil’s more than they can handle.  By comparison, the Carolina Reaper pepper, which I grow for the purpose of making sausage, jerky and beef sticks, is 275 times hotter than the jalapeno!

The “Reaper” isn’t even the world’s hottest anymore.  Growers are always trying to surpass the previous high.  The current owner of the title, “World’s Hottest Pepper” is simply called “Pepper X”!  Now where can I get my hands on a few of these little suckers?