Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension is continuing its Ultra-Niche Crop Series with the upcoming workshop “Specialty Peppers”. This workshop, the fourth class for farmers seeking new crop opportunities, will be held on March 7, 2017 from 5:30 to 8 PM, simultaneously in Cape May Court House, Bordentown and Bridgewater, New Jersey.
Peppers contain high levels of capsaicin which has significant health benefits along with high amounts of vitamin A. The fruit is in high demand by Africans, Asians and Hispanics, but different peppers are of interest to different markets. Farmers must know which pepper matches their specific market demand. In this session, farmers will learn how to make more money with less land; how to grow, market and sell specialty peppers; and how to make practical decisions on marketing and crop production.
There will be a 20-minute “Virtual Field Trip” video on the production and marketing of specialty peppers, and a speakers’ panel that includes farmer Steve Specca of Specca “UPick” Farm in Burlington County; Albert Ayeni, an ethnic crop research specialist at Rutgers University, and Ray Samulis, foodie, accomplished cook, and a County Agent for Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Burlington County. “The market for ethnic crops continues to grow,” Ayeni said. “We want to encourage growers to consider ethnic specialty crops so they may target production to meet the rapidly growing demand in the United States. These crops lend themselves to year-round production for sale, including at farmers’ markets.”
Participants will be led through worksheets to guide them in determining whether or not growing specialty peppers is right for them, their acreage, and their situation. Specca “U-Pick” Farm, which dates back to 1958, is an example of a farm that targets a particular market. Generations of Speccas have worked the farm that began as a truck farm taking produce into the Philadelphia markets and now produces a variety of fresh, local produce for customers to purchase direct. Jenny Carleo, County Agent for Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Cape May County and the Ultra-Niche Series Project Director, said, “Farmers will learn about the many different types of specialty peppers and what customers are looking for in order to be successful in pepper growing and marketing. The key is to become educated on both the diversity of peppers and the diversity of people who wish to buy them. Basically, farmers need to know both the market and the peppers in order to be successful.”
The cost for this workshop is $20 and includes a dinner at 5:30 PM, followed by the program at 6 PM. Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension’s education programs are offered to all without regard to race, religion, color, age, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or disability.
You can find additional resources and information at the Rutgers Ultra-Niche Crops Project website.
Ultra-Niche Crops are exceptionally high value crops that can be grown on small acreage. The Rutgers Ultra-Niche Crops Project is sponsored by a grant from the USDA-NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program with the purpose of giving new and beginning farmers an introduction to crops that can help them make more money on less land.