Hot, Hot, Hot!!! Your Cinco de Mayo Garden

Lookin’ for some hot stuff baby this evening? Lookin’ for some hot stuff baby tonight?

Yes, it’s Cinco de Mayo! But why just enjoy the heat one day a year?

Most people who are passionate about cooking are equally as passionate about the spices they put in their food. Chili peppers are no exception. And hot d*mn, the largest growers of chili peppers in the U.S. are right here in the Garden State. They carry 500 pepper varieties, 175 tomato varieties (many heirloom) and 50 varieties of eggplants from more than 80 countries.

 

 

 

So now you are asking me to give it away, give it away, give it away now? This gem of a place is called Cross Country Nurseries (about an hour west of Baristaville). It is run by Janie Lamson-Villegas and Fernando Villagas. If you make the trip up there and don’t have your order shipped, you can also buy 30 varieties of basil and 15 varieties of cilantro (not shipped). If your grandmother used a certain pepper back in the “old country,” chances are they will carry it. I have been buying their plants for years and every year  I up my order. They make both the best-tasting hot sauces as well as ground chili powder mix that add lift, flavor and heat to everything we put it in.

If you want to make a lovely day trip out of it, here are pictures of some of the sights. If you are looking for places to lunch try Rosemont Cafe (in  my opinion one of the most amazing restaurants in NJ). Also try the historical Stockton Inn as made famous by the Rodgers and Hart song “There’s a Small Hotel.” Looking for a lovely walk with a picnic? Try the Deleware Mill Park for lovely grounds an miles of biking an hiking. Personally I have done all three and there is not a bad option in the bunch.

So where do you fall in the hot food catagory? Is a leaf of romaine too much for you or do you chew Trinadad Scorpions like they are gum?

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