Chasing Chiles

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April 30, 2011

Hot Topic: A lesson in climate change and chili peppers | Marketplace From American Public Media

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Kurt & Kraig went out to LA and made dinner for Kai Ryssdal and the crew of Marketplace from American Public Media.  It aired on their show on Friday, April 29, 2011:

There are more than 10,000 varieties of chili peppers, and they are big business. But climate uncertainty is affecting the cultivation of some peppers.

Kai Ryssdal: Take a moment now to consider the chili pepper. There are more than 10,000 varieties. We eat ‘em. We season our food with them. They go into arthritis creams and shampoos, pesticides and, yes, pepper sprays. In 2007 — the last year we have the data for — American farmers grew more than 800,000 tons of chili peppers. Twenty-six million tons worldwide, half of that in China.

So, needless to say, they’re big business. Beyond the commercial, though, chili peppers are important in cuisines and cultures all over the world. Which helps explain why I found myself shopping for chilies in a Mexican market the other day with a chef…

Kurt Friese: I’m Kurt Friese. I’m the chef.

And an agroecologist.

Kraig Kraft: Hi, I’m Kraig Kraft. I’m the agroecologist.

A what? Let me just say he knows more about chilies than you and I would ever want to know.

Read the whole transcript or listen to the radio story @ Marketplace From American Public Media.

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