Some years ago, 2007 to be precise, we were growing the Trinidad Seasoning, a very tasty Habanero, but there was some variability in the size and shape of the pods, so we made an attempt to make it a bit more consistent. This involved growing as many plants as we could fine space for, then selecting those which made the grade, isolating them, and then saving the seed.
We noticed that one plant was decidedly different, the pods it produced were of a very different shape, almost square, with smooth skin, and where as the Trinidad Seasoning has a wrinkled skin. The colour on maturity was a deeper red as well. This oddity was isolated from the others; any fruit which had already been set was removed, as well as any opened flowers. This plant was then placed into an isolation cage, where it was allowed to flower again and this time the pods would remain true. This was late summer 2007. In the spring of 2008, seeds from this plant were sown, and nurtured. Once the plants came into flower, the isolation process was repeated. This time, we selected 10 of the strongest seedlings from the saved seed.
Thankfully the plants were well behaved and came true. This is a most worrying time; basically I put aside some valuable space in one of our greenhouses, along with time, and materials, the building of the isolation cage.
Awarding winning chilli farmer and sauce maker Alex Duck of the Upton Cheyney Chilli Co says of the Fruitburst, “it’s a favorite, a perfect blend of heat and flavor”. Flavour, is what it’s all about. I’m not a heat freak. Quite a few other chilli farmers are also using the Fruitburst, a fact which I am very proud about.
A similar thing happened in 2010, when we were producing seed of another Habanero, one with long pods, and we noticed one that produced shorter pods, so we repeated the process. This is now known as ‘Squat Frog’, due to the squat nature of the fruit.
Here is a link to a review of the forthcoming ‘Habanero Squat Frog’; there will be a limited amount of seed available this autumn, with more being produced.
And finally, a stop press. Last June, in conjunction with Alex Duck from Upton Cheyney, we put up a massive polytunnel, approx 3,000 of chilli growing heaven. Last year we grew over 500 Jalapeno’s and one plant produced some extra long pods, a few topped 8inches. That plant was isolated, and seed saved, fingers crossed for the future……