December Column: Upton Cheyney Chilli Company

December 07 2012

So our chilli farming year is drawing to an end, and although at time of writing we still have numerous unripe pods to harvest, the recent frosts will claim a good number of these.

December Column: Upton Cheyney Chilli Company

So our chilli farming year is drawing to an end, and although at time of writing we still have numerous unripe pods to harvest, the recent frosts will claim a good number of these.

Fortunately, in the end, we did harvest significant quantities and our freezers are bursting at the seams with quality UK-farmed chillies. The frozen pods will now be used over the course of next year to make sauce, chocolate, oil and Hot Pig chilli sausages.

Our smoking season has also now ended, with the smoke houses being packed away for another year. It’s always exciting to start smoking chillies again, but after three months of loading and unloading the smokers, the novelty has started to wear thin. Being told I smell of smoke every day has also become a little tiresome!

Without doubt, by the end of this month, the polytunnels will have suffered enough frost to have killed all of the plants. Over the next few weeks, therefore, we start clearing the tunnels of all plants, while adding well-rotted organic manure to the soil in preparation for next year’s growing season.

As with most people at this time of year we have also started planning for 2013, and are really excited to be offering farm tours and tasting experiences as of July.
The idea is to encourage more people to the farm, taking part in organised tours that encompass all aspects of chillies, including growing, smoking, tasting and cooking. The tours cost £25 for individuals and £40 for a couple. Lasting up to two hours, the tours are designed to be informative and interesting as well as extremely good fun, with lots of hands-on experience, including the chance to harvest your own pods.

Vouchers are available now from our website and make the ideal Christmas gift, not only for spice lovers but also those with a horticultural interest – www.uptonchilli.co.uk.

As of January, our chilli farming year starts again, and we look forward to sharing our germination experiences with you then.