This season an impressive diversity of sizes, shapes, colors and flavors characterize new and nearly new pepper offerings.
Commercial operators from large grower-shippers to small market growers should find plenty of choices. The following new or nearly new varieties for U. S. production were available to us by press time.
The anthocyanless trait in Archimedes achieves streakless fruit. Blocky, it yields 4.5-inch green to red sweet bells with three or four lobes in about 75 days. Developed by Seminis, it tolerates bacterial leaf spot 1, 2 and 3 and potato virus Y, plus some phytophthora tolerance.
Productive, sweet and high yielding, hybrid Belecanto suits both open field and high tunnel production. Thick-walled and juicy, this red-maturing Italian frying variety, developed by Enza Zaden, is listed by High Mowing Organic Seeds and Rupp Seeds.
Bubba, released by NEseeds, produces 2.5-inch green jalape<0x00F1>o peppers in 58 days turning red 10 days later. Medium spicy, it suits fresh market or processing. Resistance includes tobacco mosaic and tobacco etch viruses.
Carmen, bred by Johnny's Selected Seeds, is an Italian corno di toro type, excellent for roasting and for salads. Early production on upright medium plants yields 2.5-by-6-inch-long brilliant red peppers.
A 2012 All-America Selections vegetable award winner, Cayennetta yields 3 to 4-inch chile peppers with a mild spicy flavor. This Floranova-bred pepper tolerates both heat and cold well, and its dense foliage protects the fruits from sunscald. The prolific yield from this green to red chile appeals to market growers, and its well-branched upright habit makes it attractive for container sales.
Sakata's Classic produces smooth, thick-walled bells of greenhouse quality in the open field. Its large to extra large green to red fruit has flat shoulders and bottoms. A midseason variety, Classic has demonstrated resistance to bacterial spot races 1, 2 and 3.
Charger, a flavorful cylindrical Anaheim with mild heat, measures 1.5 by 7.5 inches. Developed by US Agriseeds, it packs tomato spotted wilt virus resistance.
Danson Seeds' Chile de Arbol 3603 continuously sets 2.5 to 3.25-inch-long peppers .25 inch in diameter on a compact plant. This hybrid tolerates tobacco mosaic and tobacco etch viruses and potato virus Y. The green fruits ripen red.
Four-inch long, cylindrical, thick-walled and dark green, Cicl<0x00F3>n can accommodate cooler growing regions. Its vigorous plant produces highly pungent fruits that tolerate cracking. US Agriseeds and Seedway report disease resistance/tolerance of bacterial leaf spot races, 1, 2 and 3 of this late-season jalape<0x00F1>o.
Cortez, a 77-day long-horn pepper with excellent yields of green fruit that ripen red measures 6 inches long and 2.5 inches wide at the crown. This Harris Moran hybrid has been shown to adapt to all pepper growing areas, both in the open field and in protected culture plantings. With intermediate resistance to phytophthora, it also resists tobacco mosaic virus, potato virus Y (races 0, 1, 1.2), pepper mottle virus and pepper yellow mosaic virus.
Cute Stuff matures its mini green to red bell peppers in about 62 days. Certain to create interest in displays at roadside stands and farmers markets, this hybrid produces high yields for good measure. Very sweet at full maturity, it excels both freshly cut in salads and used for stuffing. The 3-inch-long, 2.5-inch-wide fruits are produced on compact, upright plants. Harris Seeds says this Pan American variety can also be grown in containers.
The blocky four-lobed fruits of Delirio average 4.25 inches and mature medium early to a shiny dark orange. The strong plants of this 75-day hybrid resist tomato spotted wilt virus. Rupp Seeds and Stokes list this new sweet bell.
Very early sweet banana Natasha has straight 7.75-by-1.75-inch light yellow fruit turning red at full maturity. The strong plant resists bacterial leaf spot. Seedway says that harvesting can begin at about 68 days.
Glossy dark green ripening dark red, two-lobed Huizache excels either fresh in chile rollenos or dried. Trialed as HMX 6662, this 71-day ancho tolerates tobacco mosaic virus.
J B Jalape<0x00F1>o has exhibited very little cracking. Five inches long, this NEseeds variety can be harvested green in 72 days or red in 80 days. Either will impart excellent flavor when marketed fresh or used in processing. The strong plants resist tobacco mosaic and tobacco etch viruses.
Major League produces extra long, 3.75-by-1.25-inch cylindrical dark green to red jalape<0x00F1>o peppers for processing or nacho slices. Stokes Seeds indicates tolerance for potato virus Y and tobacco mosaic virus.
Proven throughout AAS trialing grounds across North America for its growing ease, Orange Blaze features beautiful orange coloration 65 to 70 days from transplant. Very sweet, the 3 to 4-inch-long, 1.5-inch-wide fruits have two or three lobes. Bred by Seminis, the disease package includes resistance to bacterial spot of several races, bacterial leaf spot and tobamovirus. The compact plant of this All-America winner also works well for containers.
Oranos, a bright orange Italian pepper, has demonstrated high yields for High Mowing Seeds in Vermont. Its thick walls can be stuffed or fried. It measures 1.5 inches wide and 5 to 6 inches long.
On extremely compact plants, Quetzal's attractive yellow fruits can yield continuously as early as 65 days. A hot Hungarian type, this Danson Seeds variety tolerates tobacco mosaic virus and bacterial leaf spot.
Rio Tesora, introduced by US Agriseeds, is a widely adapted hybrid with attractive, high-quality, yellow Caribe-type peppers. The thick-walled conical fruits measure 3.5 by 2 inches and turns brilliant orange-red at full maturity. At trials, known as USAPR 122, it displayed outstanding fruit set.
Firm, thick-walled and with a good shelf life, Sandpiper matures from medium dark green to a sandy, creamy blond color to bright red at full maturity. Medium tall, sturdy plants provide good cover for the mostly four-lobed, slightly elongated large to extra large bells. A midseason hybrid developed by Harris Moran, it tolerates bacterial leaf spot races 1, 2 and 3 and has high yield potential.
Green and ripening to a glossy red, the appropriately named Sweety had outstanding sweetness in Harris Seeds trials. A miniature pepper, its medium size plant produces very good yields of the 4-inch-long 1.25-inch-wide, crunchy, thin-walled, miniature peppers in about 65 days. Further, it resists tobacco mosaic virus.
UT261R Sweet Heat produces in 56 days. Stokes says this 3-by-1.5-inch bell has a mildly spicy, smoky flavor like pepperoncini, great for grilling and salsa.
Xanthi, a sweet, long, conical, yellow pepper bred by Enza Zaden, is highly resistant to tobamovirus. The flavorful peppers measure 1.5 by about 7 inches long.
Danson Seeds' new sweet banana, not yet named but trialed as 2253, yields 2-by-7-inch-long, pointed, deep yellow fruits very early on compact plants with continuous sets. It resists tobacco mosaic virus and bacterial leaf spot races 1, 2 and 3.
Also with a continuous set and high productivity, Danson Seeds' conical pepper, 3360 also features short nodes. Its bright yellow, thick walls are flavorful, and earlier and larger than Rio de Oro. It resists tobacco mosaic and tobacco etch viruses, as well as potato virus Y.
Note: Wherever a dealer/distributor is listed, other companies may also supply the variety.
The author is a writer-researcher specializing in agriculture. She currently resides in central Pennsylvania.