Peppers Aplenty at Farmers' Markets

Pepper diversity: The species Capsicum annuum gives us chiles, bell peppers, and more.
Pepper diversity: The species Capsicum annuum gives us chiles, bell peppers, and more.
photo by Eric Hunt, used under Creative Commons License

This part of Arizona's growing season, though somewhat curtailed by heat, is a fun, quirky treasure hunt, too, because every local ag-head is harvesting a unique mix of produce. But colorful fresh peppers are a constant at the moment, just about everywhere you look.

Carl Seacat enjoys introducing us to rarer varieties, and he's currently excited about Padrón peppers, named after the town in Spain that just about revolves around these little green yummers. Local Padrón fanatics who've literally been ordering produce online are also excited about getting them from Seacat Gardens.

We hear the peppers are popular fried in olive oil and sprinkled with coarse salt, which screams "bar snack with vitamins and fiber" -- some tavern proprietor needs to get on that. "The cool deal with them," Seacat writes in an e-mail, "is that eight to nine out of 10 are sweet, and the others are hot. Pepper roulette, anyone?" Get a hot Padrón, chug a beer -- yup, it's a natural.

"Other varieties we are bringing to Downtown Phoenix and Old Town Scottsdale markets this Saturday . . . include Cubanelles, lavender tequilas, and red and yellow Astis from Italy, which we consider to be the sweetest and best tasting bell peppers in existence," Seacat writes.

Okay, the gauntlet's down, and the proof is in the peppers. Go get 'em!


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