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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Center for Agroecology

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Organic Pepper Production on California's Central Coast: A Guide for Beginning Specialty Crop Growers


Peppers are an excellent addition to most small-scale, organic mixed cropping systems that focus on local sales. Peppers are highly productive, and will reliably produce fruit from July through October without season extension technologies (such as hoop houses). They are relatively easy to grow and harvest, and provide multiple marketing and culinary options. Peppers can be harvested green or left on the plant to develop color. They offer many possibilities for adding value through processing or drying. Flavor options range from sweet to very hot. A variety of colors, shapes, and sizes allows for striking presentations at farmers’ markets and in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) boxes.

This grower guide addresses the basic production steps in growing peppers organically in California’s Central Coast region and provides a varieties’ overview for those interested in adding peppers to their specialty crops.

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