The 11th annual Pepper Festival will include live music, aerial ropes routines and, most importantly, 500 pounds of locally grown peppers
This Sunday, the sustainability nonprofit Abundance North Carolina will be hosting an outdoor festival at Briar Chapel’s Great Meadow Park. According to its website, the Pepper Festival “is a celebration of sustainable agriculture, farmers and the creativity of the Piedmont’s top chefs, brewers and artisans.”
This year’s festival is expected to draw over 2,200 people from the Triangle area and beyond, making it one of the largest festivals of its kind in the area. Its roots, however, were much more modest. Tami Schwerin, Abundance’s executive director said the first festival was a gathering of about 40 people in a backyard participating in blind taste tests of different varieties of peppers.
The next year saw the addition of live music, local chefs and around 200 more people. From there, the festival has continued its steady growth each year. Schwerin says that this is directly linked with the growing popularity of the peppers themselves, particularly locally grown ones.
“Peppers are a super food and they provide more vitamin C than an orange," Schwerin said. "And we can grow them locally no problem. We grow them really well in the Piedmont and in the past 11 years our pepper production has gone up tremendously."