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September 21, 1998

Learn all about peppers--sweet and chile--at UCSC talk

By Jennifer McNulty

On Sunday, September 27, an additional workshop for gardeners will offer tips on fall and winter gardening

Whether you like them hot and spicy or sweet and crunchy, you can learn all about peppers at a free public talk by Orin Martin, manager of UCSC's Alan Chadwick Garden, on Saturday, September 26. The two-hour talk will begin at 10 a.m. in the Chadwick Garden.

Martin claims that peppers are his favorite vegetable, and he'll share "their odyssey from the Amazon basin to your kitchen table" during this talk, which will include tips for growing peppers in the Santa Cruz area.

"People don't know a lot about the new peppers that have been developed especially for areas with cool summers, like the Espanola, a New Mexico chile that will set, grow, and ripen with cool nights," said Martin, who will identify the best cool-weather peppers--both sweet and chile.

Martin's talk will coincide with the appearance of peppers at local farmers' markets, and more than 30 varieties of peppers will be on display during his talk. The only pepper that Martin cannot abide is the green bell pepper.

"There's no such thing as a mature green pepper," he said. "Green bell peppers are immature fruit. If growers would just wait another three weeks, the color would come up, the sugar content would come up, the vitamin C would come up, and the fruit would have more crunch and juice. Whether it turns red, yellow, or orange, a mature pepper should taste like candy and a vegetable rolled into one."

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