Cool video, showing what is involved in getting produce from Field to Supermarket. As a cherry grower and packer, I face similar challenges with the majority of our cherries being picked, packed, shipped and received overseas within 48 hours. This is not an endorsement of Zon Fruit & Vegetables

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sweet Colored Greenhouse Peppers


Peppers are easy to handle, the biggest problem Produce Clerks face is receiving poor quality. Recognizing defects will help you understand that the blame quite often…is solely on the grower’s inability to deliver you a good product.

All peppers should be harvested hard and crisp like apples. Greenhouse products usually tend to meet this criteria, however there are wide-ranging differences when we look at field-grown peppers.

Supermarkets buying strictly on price are usually purchasing second-rate quality (whether they realize or not). In this scenario, quality standards can be consistently poor for two reasons…

  • Growers are not going to take extra care packing peppers at bottom prices
  • They are bad growers and sell their product by undercutting the competition

The best growers like to develop their labels (e.g. Dole, Master’s Touch, Sun World, etc.) and generally good labels cost a bit more.

Colored Peppers

Many supermarkets carry greenhouse grown bell peppers because generally they are better quality. Growers have higher grading standards and questionable peppers are culled and sold as no.2 grade. Bell pepper varieties have thicker walls which translates into a much longer shelf-life compared to most field-grown varieties.

Field-Grown Sweet Red Pepper

Sweet Greenhouse Grown Red Bell Pepper

Sweet Greenhouse Grown Yellow Bell Pepper

Sweet Greenhouse Grown Orange Bell Pepper

During summer months however, it is a good idea to list field-grown varieties too. At this time of year many European shoppers purchase large volumes for grilling, canning and pickling. Regular customers turn to local Farmer’s Markets when their supermarkets do not offer a choice. Field peppers can cost substantially less (up to +100%) than greenhouse products. It is important to remain competitive during the “Locally Grown” season and shoppers love it when supermarkets support local growers. Include a realistic case price on your signage.

Popular Caselot Varieties

  • Red Peppers (sweet
  • Green Peppers (sweet)
  • Red Sheppard Peppers (sweet)
  • Red Pimento Peppers (sweet)
  • Yellow Hungarian Peppers (sweet)
  • Rings of Fire Chili Peppers (hot)
  • Cayenne Chili Peppers (hot)

Popular Sweet Yellow Hungarian Peppers

Sweet Red Sheppard Peppers

Sweet Yellow Dove Bell Peppers

Hot Red Crimson Peppers

Hot Apple Peppers

Sweet Red Pimento Peppers

Hot Cherry Pepper

Banana Peppers

Hot Green Poblano Pepper

Sweet Cheese Pimento Pepper

Hot Green Anaheim Peppers

Other Caselot Varieties

  • Yellow Apple Peppers (hot)
  • Yellow Dove Peppers (sweet)
  • Red Crimson Peppers (hot)
  • Red Cherry Peppers (hot)
  • Red Goat Horn Peppers (hot)
  • Red Super Sheppard Peppers (sweet)
  • Purple Peppers (sweet)
  • Cheese Pimento Peppers (sweet)

Green peppers are commonly received with soft defects. Purchasers without retail experience may not realize how much product is being culled and thrown out when peppers are bought solely on price (even No.1 grade). Having them visit the store occasionally will help change that. Cull percentages can be substantial. Stick with good labels.

Field-Grown Sweet Green Pepper

Greenhouse Grown Sweet Green Pepper

Hot Peppers

Jalapeno are usually the only mover in the Produce section. Most supermarkets may not even offer any other variety besides Jalapeno. The Poblano, Serrano, Scotch Bonnet, Habanero and Anaheim varieties are also popular. This category generally loses money and culling can be excessive, but hot peppers are becoming more popular.

Green Jalapeno Pepper

Hot Red Cayenne Peppers

Rings of Fire Chile Peppers

Hot Red Goathorn Chile Peppers

Hot Green Serrano Pepper

Hot Scotch Bonnet Chile Peppers

Hot Habanero Chile Peppers

Hot Scorpion Chile Peppers

Close-up of Hot Trinidad Scorpion Chile Pepper

Having a small specialty pepper section is a good idea. Putting up a copy of the “Scoleville Hot Pepper Scale” will increase sales, reduce culls and have interested shoppers buying and trying new varieties. Remember to wear gloves when handling hot peppers, do not rub your eyes and wash your hands before taking a washroom break.

If you are a typical gung-ho Produce Clerk and into sampling hot peppers, milk eases the pain.

Scoville Chile Heat Chart



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