Chili Pepper Festival Heats Up

Wildseed Farms celebrates the hot pepper with the third annual Gourmet Chili Pepper and Salsa Festival.

| July 10, 2009

Wildseed Farms announces its third annual Gourmet Chili Pepper and Salsa Festival this summer on July 24-26. Wildseed Farms, located just east of Fredericksburg, Texas, and known for its flowers, has planted several fields of peppers: chilis for ristras and drying, specialty and ethnic peppers, sweet and hot peppers, southwestern-style chilis, ornamental peppers and more.

The dates and times are Friday, July 24, noon to 9 p.m.; Saturday, July 25, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, July 26, noon to 3 p.m.

Admission is $8 for adults 12 and older, and $4 for those under 12. Two- and three-day passes are also available. The admission includes everything at Wildseed Farms: festival grounds, hot air balloon show, guest chefs and speakers, Butterfly Haus, Market Center, Brewbonnet Biergarten, colorful wildflower fields, spicy pepper fields. Pick your own flowers and/or peppers, $3.50 per container.

The Balloon Show includes a Balloon Glo Friday and Saturday, and a Balloon Flight Sunday morning at 6:30 a.m.

John R. Thomas, Wildseed’s founder and president, knows that color reigns on the vast, open fields along the highways. In 1983, there were very few sources for wildflower seeds; the seeds that were available were prohibitively expensive. The public’s love of wildflowers and demand from landscape contractors and the highway department motivated Thomas to turn his sideline turf seeding business into a full-time wildflower farm. In addition, he developed a machine to plant the tiny seeds and another to harvest them. Then the new company pioneered the practice of planting wildflowers in rows on large acreage. Today, Wildseed Farms is the largest working wildflower farm in the United States. At its Hill Country headquarters, the farm has more than 200 acres under cultivation. Wildseed Farms produces 88 varieties of wildflower seeds.

This festival not only promises chili peppers and wildflowers but will educate the folks as well. Speakers and chefs scheduled so far include John R. Thomas, “Taking the wild out of wildflowers”; Chef Ross Burtwell, “Having fun with spices”; and Hilda Bopp.

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