Vesta is the result of years and years of heat abuse by my father, an avid chile pepper fanatic and inventor of our new favorite food topping. Local only to the RDU area, Vesta is a mixture of breadcrumbs, onions, and fresh chiles cooked into a unique, flavorful topping with the ability to burn up even the tongues of the hottest food fans. I’m serious, we sold 30 jars during the North Carolina Hot Food Festival and had some hot pepper alums crying for milk. That’s the Very Hot though, luckily for the rest of us Vesta comes in Hot or Very Hot, Hot being perfect for the person looking to add a zing to everything and anything they’re eating.
As can be read on the products site, www.vestatoppings.com, Vesta was created roughly 10 years ago while my dad searched for a way to allow the average Joe the joy of eating fresh chile peppers without crying like a little girl. After years of solid user testing (countless holidays and dinner parties) the mixture has been perfected and our family has begun jarring and selling this one-of-a-kind product at the Apex Farmers Market and Chatham Street Cafe (www.cindyshousecafe.com). You can also use the website to contact us directly to make an order.
But enough about the background, I want to use GiustoGusto to show you guys just how much love goes into the product, from the ground up – literally, we grow the peppers! When we moved down from Long Island, NY in 94 we moved into what was a small and quiet Preston Country Club. Since then it’s grown into a giant display of wealth, but the one thing I still love is the farm behind our house. The owners have never sold the land, THANK GOD, and we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy a backyard unlike many in the Cary area. I grew up on this farm, fishing and playing man hunt to my little hearts desire, talk about a change of scenes from West Islip, NY! We’ve been neighbors and friends of the farm’s owners ever since we moved, so my dad eager to jump start our production asked the family if they would lend us a bit of land to grown some peppers…fast forward 5 months and I’ve got more than 5 pounds of frozen chiles in my freezer! Among the dozens of chile plants were Chocolate, Red, and Orange Habaneros, Bhut Jalokias (the hottest pepper on the planet), Tabascos, Scotch Bonnets, Devil’s Tongues…you name it, we probably grew it.
Farmer In The Dell, as my dad became known as around our place, has a crazy green thumb and grew all our plants from seedlings which is not as simple as it may seem. Chile peppers are picky, needing just enough water to keep them alive, any more and they rot – the less water, the hotter the plant, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to water them…little pains in the ass. Nevertheless, thru blood, sweat, and tears (none of which are in the actual product) we were able to grow countless pounds of hot, exotic chiles all for your, and our, enjoyment. Below are just a few of my favorite images of the plants from this summer, the farm was more beautiful than I remember it ever being in my youth and hope next summer will be just as fruitful. If you’re craving heat as much as I am right now, send us an email, call, or stop by either the cafe or farmers market to get your hands on a bottle of this fiery stuff we love so much.
ps. If you like the logo, packaging, or website (all me) let me know, I’m always looking for new projects.