FARMING FOR IDEAS
Last February we decided to start growing our own organic chili plants. Since we didn't own a farm and are notorious brown thumbs we decided to contract our peppers to a farm in Dawu, Taitung. As I was picking up the jalapenos, habaneros, birds eye and poblanos from the nursery I saw some Ghost pepper plants for sale. I bought what they had and handed it to our farmer. Unbeknownst to us our farmer made an executive decision and planted mostly birds eye and a small mix of the other plants. Because we started late in the season alot of the plants with the exception of the birds eye didn't make it through the spring rains. One chili that continued to thrive was the ghost pepper.
When the farm harvested, we were left with an overwhelming amount of birds eye and started to ferment them. As an afterthought we started pickling the ghost pepper and selling it at the market. One thing that surprised us was how often we would sell out. These things are hot. We had no idea what we were going to make with them but we knew that people who are into super hot chilies are a rabid fan base. At the same time we had started to make an Asian Chili paste from the fermented birds eye. It was an excellent product that I used on my Taiwanese food all the time but it just wasn't selling. In a very short moment of clarity we decided to try to make a sauce by mixing the Asian paste and the pickled ghost peppers together. A star was born. Anita's Ghost pepper sauce was popular right from the get-go.
This year we started our farm earlier and are about to harvest jalapenos, habaneros, scorpions, ghost and reapers. If the peppers continue to grow, it will be interesting to see what we come up with. We already have plans on what sauces we want to make. My guess is that by the end of the summer the sauces we end up with will be much different than what we planned. It will truly be organic.