Sowing espelette pepper seeds is carried out from mid-February through our farm selection; Indeed, during the harvest period, we select with precision and care, fruits meet the criteria of the PDO, we do it to dry naturally and we will extract later the pepper seeds for performing the sowing of the next year.
PLANTING AND AGEING OF CROP
Fifteen days after sowing, the plant is transplanted manually and grows in a greenhouse under specific conditions and then reach its maturity where it can be planted; this step takes place from early March to early May.
Around May 15th, the PDO Espelette pepper is planted in the field on the biodegradable plastic mulch in 2 rows on a parcel approved by the INAO (Institut National Institut of Original Names), in the PDO area.
Immediately after planting, PDO Espelette pepper is tutored through pickets and gardening nets; we manually remove plants foot by foot and maintain the parcel; we pay special attention to proper development of the plant to avoid disease. Irrigation of Espelette pepper can only be done within 3 weeks of the day of planting, after this period, it is prohibited (see the specification of the PDO).
We reap PDO Espelette pepper in installments from August 15th to December 1st included. Indeed, the harvested fruit must meet the criteria of the PDO, berries 100%, saints, without necrosis, regular conical shape and size between 7 and 14cm (specification of the PDO).
When the pepper is harvested, it is cleaned one by one and sorted according to its destination. Indeed, if sold as rope, it is sorted and graded to obtain a braid PDO Espelette pepper that meets the criteria defined in the specification for the PDO. If it is made into chili powder, it is put in pre-drying on racks in a greenhouse tunnel to reach after 15 days or more (depending on appreciation of quality manager), its stage of maturity for its passage in an oven. The chili is tailed and a second sorting is done to rule out any necrotic chili. PDO Espelette pepper is then introduced in the oven to be cooked; when finished cooking, it is immediately reduced to chili powder using a food mill use and packed in vacuum bags before passing the PDO Accreditation.
Upon obtaining the PDO Espelette pepper as rope, bulk or powder can be marketed as PDO. To ensure this certification, the union of PDO Espelette pepper delivers for each product and in the amounts, the corresponding tamperproof labels. Only the chili stamped with this logo is the real PDO Espelette pepper