Click here to go to the Viva Lewes homepage

Southease Chilli and Sweet Pepper Parade

Adrian Orchard, a retired notary, grows ten varieties of chillies and five varieties of peppers in a polytunnel on his nursery in Southease. This afternoon he is holding the village’s first ever ‘Chilli and Sweet Pepper Parade’ on the Green. I took the opportunity to visit Adrian a week or so before the event, on a warm sunny morning, in order to find out some more about it, him and chillies in general.

I’m interested in the term ‘parade’. Are the plants, or their fruits, going to be carried around in triumph on floats? He laughs. “Festival sounded a bit pretentious,” he says. “And parade had the advantage of being alliterative when put next to pepper. I will put examples of the plants on four different palettes on the Green, one for the five varieties of pepper I grow, another three for the ten varieties of chilli. They will be on sale, and I will be on hand to explain the different varieties, and their different qualities.” He takes me on a little tour of his polytunnel, where there are a hundred or so plants on shelves at eye level. Each plant is splendidly laden with nearly-ripe fruit. The variety is amazing. Some are long, thin and tapering, others are fat and round. Some look like tomatoes (to which they are related) others look unequivocally like… well, like peppers. The colours vary from pale yellow, through rich green, to deep red. Some look inoffensive, others look like they’re likely to burn the roof of your mouth off.

continued overleaf...

Adrian Orchard: Id defy anyone to try Hot Paper Lanterns"