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Dear Customers,  

            Thanks to ships, “planes, trains & automobiles (tractor trailers)”, we enjoy an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables year-round.  Bananas come from below the equator pretty much every day of the year.  Florida watermelons, strawberries, blueberries and almost every other fruit come ripe when we’re up to our knees in snow and ice!  Fresh greens are available from California, Texas and Mexico every week of the year.  But. . . if you live in Northwestern Pennsylvania, the harvest season is much shorter and much more date specific. 

            The fruit on the trees in our lawn is just now nearing its peak.  The vegetable gardens are pretty much harvested but there are still a few recalcitrant species that are loathe to give up their bounty.  I planted about 40 Carolina Reaper seeds last February.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, they’re a hot pepper that is currently the hottest variety in the world.  For purposes of reference, they’re about 880 times hotter than a jalapeño pepper.  “What?” might you be asking, “do you do with such a beast?”  They’re too hot to eat off the vine and one pepper would probably season a 55-gallon vat of chili so what do we do with them? 

            Actually, we take them to our meat department, run them through our dehydrator several times until they’re completely dried – then the fun begins.  We put them in sausage, beef sticks, jerky and bologna and put them out for sale!  Last year we couldn’t keep them on the shelf.  There’s something about men and their machismo that makes it necessary to try everything hot they come across.   Apparently, it’s part of our make-up.  We’ve had people asking for them for months, but unfortunately the Reaper is a very slow growing pepper.

            I mentioned that I put them in the seedling trays back in February.  While a tomato seed will germinate and poke its head out of the ground within a week, it was well over a month before I saw the first sign of life in my Reaper tray.  Then, in April, two months later, I transferred them to the greenhouse where they had the benefit of constant grow-lighting and heated warming mats.  By the middle of May, they were planted into my raised bed gardens where they seemed to languish for several more months.  Finally, about the end of August I began to notice lots of little green peppers popping out on the limbs.  To be ready for use, those little green peppers turn into fiery red adults, each one about the size of a small kiwi fruit. 

            If we were we enjoying Mexico’s climate, they would probably thrive, but here in McKean County they were the last thing to near ripeness in my garden.  I had to cover them at night to protect them from the colder temperatures.   They should be ready for all the “real men” very soon.  Watch our Facebook page as Corey and Shawn will let you know when they’re in production.  Keep in mind that the season and the harvest are limited, and it’ll be first come first served!