The harvest of our jalapeño peppers is unlike anything else we grow at Rogue Farms.
With all of our other ingredients, the entire crop is ripe and ready for picking at the same time. We can pick one of our hop varieties in a day. Harvesting a field of our malting barley takes a few days, maybe a week if the weather is bad.
But our peppers? They have a mind of their own.
What we’ve learned in our three years as pepper growers is that jalapeños don’t mature at the same time. Every variety is different, every plant is different. Peppers on the same plant will ripen at different rates.
So you can’t pick an entire crop all at once. Instead, we walk through the one acre patch every couple of days, picking the ripe red ones and leaving the green ones behind. Our pepper harvest happens slowly over weeks or even months.
Honestly, we have no one to blame but ourselves.
Most pepper farmers harvest when the jalapeños are green. When you’re growing peppers for salsa and spices there’s nothing wrong with that. You can even pick the whole crop at the same time.
But at Rogue we do things differently.
We give our peppers more time to ripen fully and turn bright red. Red jalapeños are drier than green ones and have a mellower flavor. That’s when they’re perfect for smoking into chipotles. Since we grow our peppers for John Maier to brew Chipotle Ale, red peppers are what we want.
As we slow pick this year’s crop of Rogue Farms jalapeños, we’ll gather them in baskets and drive them 77-miles over the Oregon Coast Range to our Brewery in Newport. After 48-hours of dry smoking them over embers of alder and cherry, our jalapeños become chipotles and John pitches them in the kettle to craft a new batch of Chipotle Ale.
It takes longer to do it this way, but we think it’s worth it. You’ll taste the difference the next time you open a bottle of Rogue Farms Chipotle Ale, made in collaboration with Mother Nature and picked one pepper at a time.
Please join us this fall at Rogue Farms as we conclude the harvest season. Come see how we grow beer, spirits, ciders and sodas.