ARTICLE ABOUT CHILES YOU MIGHT RECOGNIZE A FEW NAMES Modern Farmer: When approaching the world’s hottest chile pepper, caution seems wise.... -
When approaching the world’s hottest chile pepper, caution seems wise. “Be careful,” says San Diego-based chile grower Jim Duffy, who mailed me a sample of the Moruga Scorpion, which he is trying to get in the Guinness Book of World Records for its insane level of heat. Duffy isn’t kidding…
Fri Apr 05 2013 05:00:00
Legally defensible doesn’t always mean morally and ethically appropriate. If you want proof of that, look no further than the case of Stanley Brown, one of two people who held a developmentally disabled Hamilton man for 17 days, tortured him mercilessly and stole his money. And who will get out of jail early thanks to an appeals court decision this week.
Brown will have his sentence reduced from 13 years to seven years and two months. His partner in the horrific crime, Dakota Thompson, has also had her 10-year sentence reduced, but it’s not yet known by how much. Of course, the overriding question is: Why?
The appeals were predicated on the legal view that the sentences were too harsh. Too harsh in a case where they forced a vulnerable man to eat his own feces, beat him bloody and put hot pepper in water he tried to use to cleanse his wounds? If anything, the original sentences seem too light.
Odds are the appeal succeeded because there was evidence the sentences were not consistent with other sentencing decisions in similar cases. That goes back to our original point: You might be able to justify this decision legally, but in the real world, it seems as wrong as can be.
A Growing CultureEarl Gohl, federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission, has a job that requires him to take the heat.
And we’re talking about more than Washington, D.C., politics.
On Wednesday Gohl was atSmoking J’s Fiery Foods in Candler, N.C., to launch his ARC Foodways tour.
“It was a cold day, but it was hot stuff,” Gohl said.
He sampled hot sauce and peppers at the farm, which is west of Asheville. About 25 other nonprofit, foundation and government leaders joined him on the tour. The visit was organized as part of the fourth annual gathering of theAppalachia Funders Network.
Smoking J’s is part of what Gohl describes as a burgeoning economic sector in Appalachia – local foods production.
The farm is notable in a region that already has a reputation for producing all things local, from food to beer to art. The 10-acre farm is owned and run by Joel and Tara Mowrey. The farm grows about 20 varieties of hot and sweet peppers. Besides the usual jalapenos, there are jolokia ghost, fatilli and the scorching Trinidad scorpion butch T 6, the hottest in the world.
Joel Mowrey said two people work year-round at the farm, in addition to the owners. That number swells to 13 or more seasonally.
To process their spicy ingredients into sauces, rubs and salsa, the Mowreys take advantage of a community commercial kitchen in Candler. The facility is run by Blue Ridge Food Ventures, and it serves as a sort of business incubator. Numerous individuals and small businesses share the kitchen, lowering the cost and hassle of getting into the industry.
The ARC’s Gohl says this kind of community infrastructure is what’s needed to help local food businesses in Appalachia take off.
ARC“We’ve got good soil, a long growing season, and lots of local knowledge,” he said. “The challenge is to develop the ‘entrepreneurial ecosystem’ to make local foods a stronger part of the local economy.”
Gohl said he hopes to visit local-food projects like Smoking J’s and the community kitchen in all 13 of the states that have counties in the federally defined Appalachian region, which runs from northeast Mississippi to southern New York.
Since 2001 the ARC has pumped $7.6 million into local-food production projects. That funding has gone to support marketing, training and infrastructure like shared kitchens and markets.
A 2012 ARC report says expanding local food production has the “potential to increase employment opportunities, improve community vitality and quality of life, and become a sustainable and healthy part of Appalachia’s future economic and community development.”
“We don’t have specific numbers” on the potential economic impact of local food production, Gohl said. “But direct sales by farmers to buyers have grown dramatically. That reflects well on the whole system.”