CSUB holding fiery competition for local pepper gardeners

September 19, 2008
Kathy Miller, 661/654-2456, kmiller26@csub.edu or
Michele Newel, 661/654-2720, mnewell1@csub.edu
Pepper Gardener Competition Photo

Is your garden on fire with flaming peppers? Do you think your piping poblanos, scorching serranos or hurting habaneros are the hottest in Kern County? Put your peppers to the test in California State University, Bakersfield's Hottest Pepper in Kern County competition.

Local gardeners are encouraged to submit their freshly grown peppers in this inaugural competition now through Wednesday, Oct. 15 to the CSUB chemistry department. Peppers will be analyzed using the Scoville index of peppers and a system for determining capsaicin levels.

"The competition is being initiated to provide an analysis of pungency levels in peppers and, more importantly, to provide analytical experience for our chemistry students," said chemistry professor Roy LaFever, who has conducted natural plant product research for nearly 20 years. "This is a fun way for students to gain practical skills and for a local red-hot gardener to claim fame as having the hottest peppers in Kern County."

Each gardener is limited to submission of one pepper variety with at least three peppers from the same plant totaling at least 25 grams, approximately one ounce. Peppers must be grown in Kern County and dried peppers will not be included in the competition. The $20 entry fee will be used to offset the cost of analysis. The gardener with the hottest pepper will be provided a recognition certificate and results will be provided to local media.

Gardeners should bring their painful peppers to the science stockroom, located on the first floor of Science I, Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Entry forms and complete details can be found at www.csub.edu/chemistry or by contacting LaFever at (661) 654-2336 or rlafever@csub.edu.