South Devon Chilli Farm – a unique experience
I like to think that I have a green, well green-ish thumb. I have dabbled in gardening through life, well, in phases. But I have found that more than growing flowers, which of course, give incredible delight, I just love growing vegetables. Well, I haven’t done anything too difficult, just the easy ones- beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, butternut squash, courgettes. They are the ones that are easy to grow, in the unpredictable British weather- well, I wouldn’t say tomatoes were the easiest, but yeah, you can grow them without much difficulty- weather permitting.
When I decided to grow chillies however, come what may, I was not successful. I had tried growing different kinds of peppers whilst in Bangalore, and the plants were extremely productive, but with the hit and miss of the British weather I never found much success with growing chillies. And the only solutions to all problems is Google. It was then that I discovered the South Devon Chilli Farm. A chilli farm , in Devon- well, I was shocked. I decided that I must go and visit this place someday. So 4 years later, while on this trip in the lovely sleepy village of Stockton, I suddenly remembered the Chilli farm. So off we went.
Tucked away, in the midst of farmlands, is this unique chilli farm. There is a lovely play area for children, surrounded by apple trees and some show tunnels. We visited in April, not really the best month to visit, as the show tunnels are closed, but the farm does have a green house with some plants for sale and a farm cafe that sells food, pickles, jams, chocolates and the like- of course all with the chilli theme.
We were lucky to get shown around the green house by the owner and got to see the plants in different stages right from the small bunched up saplings to the stage at which they are shipped out. It was really interesting to understand the process of growing chillies and the precaution therein.
The farm grows over 15000 plants and has more than 200 varieties on show. They grow everything right from the Bhut Jholakia- the chilli inferno to the jalapeno and several lesser known, but very interesting varieties. The best time to visit in June to November- when you get to see the chillies at their best. We bought 2 little plants- Super, a decorative but edible plant and the little man picked up Cherry Bomb- a cherry tomato shaped chilli, that is best stuffed and baked. Armed with all that information, I’m keeping my fingers crossed, hoping that my chilli plants bear fruit. If they do, then I will for sure turn them into something edible. If you do decide to give the chilli farm a visit, do so on a sunny day between June and November, you’ll be glad you did.