How we ended up with 3+ pounds of chili peppers: A bike ride to a Korean farm in New Jersey

We’re still trying to figure out how to cook with all those peppers.

Time for a new destination.

We settled on Evergreen Farm in Hamilton. A neighbor had suggested it in the spring as a possible place to buy shishito pepper seedlings. We never made it then, but we wanted a flat ride today. Just under 30 miles sounded perfect given the heat.

Besides, maybe we’d come home with mysterious fruits and vegetables.

Both Google Maps and Komoot wanted to send us through the middle of Robbinsville or even into Hamilton, but that didn’t sound too pleasant to us. Hamilton after our ride to Bordentown and beyond? No thanks.

While the farm has a Hamilton address, it abuts the east side of the New Jersey Turnpike. We decided to cross the Turnpike early and ride through more rural parts of Mercer County.

So while we headed toward Robbinsville, we turned left onto Meadowbrook Road, which is the way we biked to Amazon for a warehouse tour. On Sundays, you might see this sign:

We’ve been there. Barns full of stuff. If that’s your thing, go.

Someone claims that Jon Corzine, a former governor, owns a house here. I don’t believe it (the biggest McMansion on the road is not owned by him — basic Internet sleuthing tells you that), but we call it the Corzine road anyway.

Across U.S. 130, over the Turnpike, past warehouses and over I-195. Then quiet roads and the occasional farm.

Finally we reach Evergreen Farm.

We follow a stony road for a few minutes, past arbors of Korean pear trees — I’ve become obsessed with arbors made from cattle panels after admiring a friend’s, so I had to see how these are done — and rows of Korean grapes. Then we spot an outsized shed on the left. The store.

While this article in Edible Jersey speaks of tour buses coming here, on this Sunday morning all was quiet. (Here’s an older New York Times article about the farm.)

There wasn’t much produce to consider … a frost in early May killed off the year’s pear crop just as the trees were flowering (we remember it — we used hand warmers from a neighbor to help save our just-planted tomatoes). Grapes are still ripening and won’t be picked until August.

The co-owner pulled a supermarket bag full of green peppers from the refrigerator — interested?

To be honest, it looked like way too much, even if we are eating more vegetables these days. Could we roast them, as if they were Hatch chilies? And then freeze them? Freeze them fresh? How spicy are they? (Medium-hot, it turns out.) Perhaps a small bag?

But she had none bagged up and offered us the big bag for the small-bag price of $5.

So that’s how we put 3 1/4 pounds of Korean green peppers in my bikepacking bag and pedaled 14 miles home.

We’re still working on a plan to use them up. Korean neighbors suggest dipping them into a sauce made with gochujang paste and eating them raw. Sounds too hot!

Author: alliumstozinnias

A gardener (along with the Brit) who has discovered there is more than hybrid tomatoes. And a cyclist.

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