CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE, N.J. — Rutgers Cooperative Extension is continuing its Ultra-Niche Crop series in 2017 with the upcoming workshop “Specialty Peppers.” This workshop, the fourth class in the Ultra-Niche educational series for farmers seeking new crop opportunities, will be held on March 7 from 5:30 to 8 p.m., simultaneously Cape May Court House, Bordentown and Bridgewater, N.J.
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 interested 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, as well as, a speakers’ panel that includes farmer Steve Specca, Specca “U-Pick” Farm in Burlington County, Albert Ayeni, 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 many in New Jersey, as a truck farm taking produce into the Philadelphia markets. Today, the farm is a “U-Pick” farm and produces a variety of fresh, local produce.
Jenny Carleo, the 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 p.m., followed by the program at 6 p.m. For more information, contact Jenny Carleo at 609-465-5115 or email Jennifer Matthews at JLM479@njaes.rutgers.edu. To register, go to Eventbrite: http://tinyurl.com/UNC2017specialtypeppers. The deadline to register is March 3.
For more information on the Rutgers Ultra-Niche Crops Project, please go to https://njaes.rutgers.edu/ultra-niche-crops/.
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.
— Rutgers Cooperative Extension