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Shhhh! Shishitos are our summer secret

Updated: Oct 10, 2020

There's nothing better than coming home after a day of summer fun and having a quick dinner out on the deck as the sun sets. For the past two years, this usually means a plate of grilled shishito peppers accompanied by a nice, frosty beer or chilled white wine.

For those who have never had a shishito before, it's a small mild pepper with an amazing taste when lightly blistered in a pan with oil, salt, pepper and a spritz of lemon. Every once in a while you get a spicy one, though it never hits the scale of a jalapeño.

One downside is that shishitos aren't easy to find. We are lucky here in the Valley. Sunbow 5 Farm in Hadley (at left) usually arrives at the Amherst Farmers' Market in July and supplies the area with an array of Asian vegetables, including edamame, Asian cucumbers, and, of course, shishitos.

I had never heard of these peppers before last summer, when I overheard a conversation at the farmers' market. This woman was espousing on how great these peppers in all they're seared delight. I decided right then and there I had to try them.

Now I'm obsessed!

This summer I actually grew my own plants (at left). I started them from seed in the house in early March and then planted them in garden in May. I ended up with 4 healthy plants that produced probably a couple dozen or so peppers. Not great, but I had some setbacks, including mice who ate my first seedlings and a too-dense garden that may have shaded the shishito plants too much.

So we live and learn. We're expanding the size of my garden next year and plan to add more shishito plants.

And, if all else fails, we can always just wait until July and head straight to the Sunbow booth at the farmers' market.

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