I am always up for an adventure so when I was invited to come learn more about BellaFina Peppers over at one of Bailey Farms properties in Bonita Springs I happily accepted. After all, while I have been on a farm (once), I had never been on a pepper farm.
We started off by meeting the owner, Randy Bailey who founded Bailey Farms with his father back in 1998. Bailey Farms is a family-owned operation of growers, re-packers, and distributors of fresh produce here in Florida and North Carolina.
Then we headed out to the pepper field where we learned about peppers…Did You Know?
- The BellaFina peppers have a distinct appearance of a mini bell pepper which provides a sweet tasting pepper that is perfect for snacking or cooking.
- It can take a pepper anywhere from 60-100 days to mature, weather permitting.
- Plants mature from the bottom-up, so when picking peppers, it is best to select the peppers closest to the ground.
- The chemical responsible for making chile peppers hot is called capsaicin (cap-SAY-sin), a very powerful and stable alkaloid.
- Peppers are low calorie and high fiber foods that are packed with vitamins A, C and E plus beta-carotene, potassium, and folic acid.
- The capsaicin in chile peppers even add more health benefits to peppers such as pain relief, lower incidence of stroke and heart disease and prevention of ulcers.
After learning about the peppers, we also got to pick some. Yes, I actually did some physical labor!
So much so, that unlike everyone else, I ended up with 2 bags worth of peppers!
Once the peppers are picked, they need to be packed up and shipped. So, we got to take a tour of their packing facility as well. But first, I had to put on a hair net (fashionable huh?)
This nifty machine comes in handy for getting them all sorted and packed up.
Don’t these peppers look beautiful?
We were then whisked away to enjoy a fabulous lunch which of course incorporated peppers. I am so proud of myself, I tried new items.
I will definitely start incorporating peppers into my meals (besides the green peppers I occasionally cook with). BellaFinas bring a great combination of taste and colorful appearance to dishes, which can help get more vegetables on the plate — a goal for many of us trying to eat healthier.
Their passion for peppers is made evident through their specialty chile peppers, tomatillos and hot sauces. You can purchase their products at local east coast retailers in more than 6,600 stores. For more information on peppers, visit here and here.
Disclosure: I was provided a travel stipend by Monsanto to offset transportation costs to and from Bailey Farms. No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed are my own.