Fredericksburg, Texas – Time to spice up your vacation plans. Wildseed Farms, just east of Fredericksburg, hosts its fourth annual Gourmet Chili Pepper and Salsa Festival July 23 and 24. Known for its flowers, Wildseed Farms will be planting several fields of peppers: chilies for ristras and drying, specialty and ethnic peppers, sweet and hot peppers, southwestern style chilies, ornamental peppers and more.
From 3 to 10 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, visitors can visit the farm and participate in a number of festival activities. Admission is $8 for adults 12 and older, and $4 for those under 12. Two-day passes also are available. Admission includes everything at Wildseed Farms: festival grounds, hot air balloon show and Balloon Glow, guest chefs and speakers, Butterfly Haus, Market Center, Brewbonnet Biergarten, colorful wildflower fields, spicy pepper fields, plus booths to sample salsas and other great, spicy foods. Pick your own flowers and/or peppers for $5 per container.
John R. Thomas, Wildseed’s founder and president, knows color reigns on the vast, open fields along the highways. In 1983, there were few sources for wildflower seeds; the seeds that were available were prohibitively expensive. The public’s love of wildflowers and demands 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 about 20 varieties of wildflower seeds.
The musical lineup for the festival includes the Saturday appearance by Rotel and the Hot Tomatoes, named one of the “Top 10 Party Bands in the U.S.” by Harper’s Bazaar magazine. Back for a second year, Rotel and the Hot Tomatoes kept the crowd dancing the night away in 2009. Music begins at 7 both nights.
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