Karen and I moved to Ireland from London in January 2001 in search of a less stressful life for ourselves and our family. We spent the next 12 years renovating our house from ruined stone coach house to the home we have now. We have had a number of jobs and our own businesses along the way.
At the beginning of 2014 Karen and I reached another crossroads. Both our previous businesses had closed and we were discussing ‘what next?’ We looked out at the 2 acres of unused garden (read uncultivated field!) and Karen said ‘well we could at least grow our own vegetables!’ which got me thinking, ‘could we grow anything worth selling?’
Over the last decade we have noticed an increase in the availability of unusual foods in Ireland. We are delighted as we enjoy cooking Chinese, Indian and Mexican style meals for ourselves. We also noticed that the basic ingredient in many of these dishes, the chilli pepper, was imported from Africa, Asia and other far flung places. We discovered that chilli peppers are being grown successfully on a commercial scale in the UK, in a similar climate to Ireland, and the idea for ‘The Irish Chilli Farm’ came in to being.
We spent 2014 looking at the feasibility of our idea and developing the business plan. We grew over 20 varieties of Chilli pepper, we learnt a lot about what works and what doesn’t. We noticed that chillies are sold in Ireland in mixed packets. The different varieties of chilli differ greatly in flavour and heat, so we decided all our chilli’s would be sold by the name of the variety with the scovile heat rating on the pack.
In 2015 we are growing 15 varieties of chilli pepper. We are selling in local retail outlets and to the restaurant trade. We have big plans for The Irish Chilli Farm. Next year we are looking to increase production and start supplying to restaurants and retail outlets across the country. If you have found us here then you already know we are selling on line.