The Philadelphia Pepper Project aims to restore a long-lost culinary heritage tradition.
From Philadelphia’s earliest history, hot peppers were traded, seeded and grown in flower pots, gardens and byways all over the city. This free bounty was available to all citizens, rich and poor, and they made the most of it. The resulting fusion of ethnic traditions and culinary know-how created a style of cuisine that was uniquely Philadelphia’s.
What’s the project’s game plan?
• To grow heirloom peppers, as well as newly developed varieties, and make them freely available in public gardens and byways throughout the city.
While reintroducing heirloom hot peppers is ideal, any variety of hot pepper will do. From its earliest days Philadelphia’s been an immigrant enclave and as recipes and foods have been shared over time, a marvelous merger of cuisines has evolved. So, in Chinatown maybe it’s a Thai chile pepper on the garden menu? In South Philly, a poblano or jalapeno pepper? In West Philly or Germantown, perhaps scotch bonnets from the Caribbean?
• To seed the idea among community partners, passionate neighbors and fellow gardeners for support as custodians for this foodways project.
Community groups and historic house gardens can use the project to enhance existing educational outreach and cultural enrichment programs or to develop new ones. Philadelphians of all ages can take part in an active way in revitalizing their cultural heritage.
• It’s entirely a voluntary enterprise – no solicitations for money or gifts or contributions. Simply save your seeds and share your seeds! And share your stories!
With this blog…
I’ll provide regular postings about the history of hot peppers, particularly in Philadelphia, plus recipes, stories and pictures shared by you as seeds are nurtured into seedlings and your carefully tended plants bear fruit.
If you want to take part in the Philadelphia Pepper Project, or contribute articles and photos for this blog, please contact me at…
The Philadelphia Pepper Project © is a cultural heritage production of Authentic Philadelphia.
Anita Mc Kelvey © 2011-2016 The Philadelphia Pepper Project