Peppadew, a pepper-like fruit that is native to South Africa, will be marketed under the “Jersey Fresh” promotional program for the first time this year, with production of the Gold variety of the fruit currently underway in the Garden State.
Additionally, a new facility called Peppadew Fresh Farms & Vineyard will serve as a hub of events and educational activities that revolve around Peppadew.
Pierre Crawley, managing director of Peppadew Fresh Farms, said that the facility, located in the central New Jersey town of Morganville, a short distance from the Atlantic coast,has been holding cooking classes utilizing Peppadew as an ingredient, which is typical of the smaller, grass roots promotional efforts planned for the product.
“Peppadew Fresh Farms is all about educating people,” he said. “When they are here, whether it be for a function that we run or a private event like a wedding or corporate meeting, Peppadew will be a prominent part of their visit. And when the six or eight people leaveafter the cooking class, they are telling five or 10 of their friends about Peppadew, which helps spread the word about it. Without having a $200 million marketing budget like Procter & Gamble, this is an effective way to help get the word out about Peppadew, with a grass roots effort to develop a cult-like following.”
In mid-April, Peppadew Fresh Farms & Vineyards won a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant that will help expand production, distribution and marketing of Peppadew. In New Jersey, Peppadew Gold will be grown this year on approximately five acres, marking the first time ever that the product has been grown outside of South Africa.
Mr. Crawley said that the Peppadew Gold seedlings currently are coming out of a New Jersey nursery and would be going in the ground at the end of May. The 120-day growing cycle will have product ready to harvest by September. For the first year, all product will be grown on site at Peppadew Fresh Farms, but some off-site production will be considered in future years.
Interest in Peppadew Gold has been high among retailers and restaurants in the Garden State, said Mr. Crawley, who added the he is working on pre-selling all product.
Mr. Crawley said that the region is perfectly suited to be the base of operations in North America, owing to the fact that central New Jersey is in close proximity to major markets of Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore-Washington, DC.
Additionally, he said the region has a diverse population that is accepting of a wide range of flavor profiles, which works well for a relatively new product like Peppadew.