Why a startup microfarm specializing in super hot peppers? It began as a hobby garden. Growing hot peppers was a lark. There’s a certain cachet associated with growing the worlds hottest peppers. We started with the Bhut Jolokia, or Ghost Pepper, a few years ago when it was certified the world champion. That led to other super hots including the Trinidad Scorpion and now the new world’s hottest, the Moruga Scorpion.
At some point whether this one or that one is the hottest becomes irrelevant to the average consumer and, probably, to even the dedicated foodie. All are blazing hot. The nuisances of flavor become more interesting; some are smokey, some fruity, some have heat that comes on quickly, some have heat that builds, some have heat that comes and goes, some have heat that lasts and lasts. Lot’s of diversity. The fun is looking for ways to make these characteristics accessible to ordinary humans – folks that like some spice, but not too much, and want to live close to the edge of the super hots. As interest grew, our plantings expanded, and with this expansion came the transition from hobby garden to microfarm.
What’s the difference? Gardens are for fun and table; farms are for production, sales, and distribution. With the shift to farm from garden, questions on scale, sustainability, economic viability, environmental impact, and a host of other issues came to the fore. Suddenly, the answer to the question ¨Why do you grow hot peppers¨ is that it provides a vehicle for exploring broad issues that are shared by all farmers and ranchers worldwide. How do we, as a global community, maximize production of food on a given amount of land with the minimum of resources imported across the property line? It all leads to an existential pursuit wherein each and every farmer takes on the individual responsibility of exploring and investigating these issues in the context of a growing worldwide challenge. In the next few decades we must figure out how to feed over nine billion people with no significant increase in agricultural land; and, as if that’s not enough, we must do this in the face of climate change on a global scale. Admittedly, a long way from growing hot peppers on Cape Cod, but the fundamental tenets are applicable regardless of scale.
So, we grow peppers for fun. We grow peppers for profit. We grow peppers to provide our friends, neighbors, and community with produce. We grow peppers to learn new technology. We grow peppers to challenge our understanding sustainablity. We grow peppers to invent new methods for promoting economic viability. We grow peppers to explore ways to prosper in the face of increasing food demand and dwindling resources. We grow peppers to expand our understanding of the what’s important. We grow peppers to exist.
A lowly microfarm startup has blossomed into an obsession and focus on participating in the global dialogue for improving food production. We are not maximizing production of peppers as an end in itself. We are maximizing production of peppers in the context of being good custodians of the Earth for ourselves and for our childrens’ childrens’ children. There is no single solution; no silver bullet. All solution methods are on the table: organic farming, permaculture, genetically modified crops, water harvesting, aquaponics, buy local – eat local. The solutions are multi-faceted; they are silver buckshot. For our microfarm, we seek ideas, these silver buckshot, throughout the farming community and test them on a small scale – a scale that is applicable for urban farms and small rural farms everywhere. Our experimentation may offer insight and results that can help others on Cape Cod or those elsewhere in the U.S. or in Africa or in India.
We can’t change the world, but we can contribute, along with millions of others, to collectively make a difference.
That’s why we grow the world’s hottest peppers; and we are not alone.