Wednesday, 1 June 2011
Edible Ornamentals: The Tour Part 2
Shawn showed us around his chilli farm ran with his wife Joanna, rightly called Edible Ornamentals. After seeing the most public aspects of the chilli farm we moved on to polytunnels and glasshouses that were more for commercial use. Rows and rows of beautifully kept chilli plants such as Hercules (a popular type of chillies mainly found in supermarkets) were to be found in either polytunnels or glass greenhouses but also tomatillos which seem to be a real winner at the moment especially when sold to restaurants.
We then arrived at a big tank that is part of the ingenious irrigation system. Shawn and Joanna seem to have had a rough time when it comes to setting up an irrigation system that would free up their time and allow for a precise watering of the plants. Each chilli plant is linked to this clever irrigation system that is run by a computer and can even modify the PH of the water that runs through it. With so many chilli plants to look after we are not surprised that Shawn and Joanna went for such a high tech irrigation system albeit a costly one but definitely worth having especially in view of the scale of the chilli farm and its plans for expansion.
The commercial kitchen was definitely impressive. Although set in a container much like the ones you would see on construction sites, this kitchen is well lit, extremely clean and well laid out. Shawn explained to us what happens from the moment the chillies are picked to the moment they are washed, pureed, cooked and bottled up.
There is nothing average about Edible Ornamentals chilli sauces and preserves as we were about to find out by visiting the farm shop which is set up in a small chalet type house. Edible Ornamentals chilli products are of course available but also other items such as Italian pasta, oils and sauces from other brands. Shawn went on to make us try several types of chillies so people could notice the difference in taste and heat level between each type and the tour concluded with most people buying some of Edible Ornamentals’ chilli products or chilli plants.
Overall, it was a great way to spend a Sunday, talking to people that are passionate at what they do. We cannot wait to see Shawn at West Dean Chilli Fiesta in August. We tried to approach him last year but the stand was absolutely mobbed. We understand why now that we know a bit more about them!Read This Also :