The Story of Arizona Chili Peppers Can't Be Told without Ed Curry

The Story of Arizona Chili Peppers Can't Be Told without Ed Curry

The first time I met Ed Curry of Curry Seed & Chile Company in 2009 was when myself and a video crew came out to interview him for a video project. He was as entertaining and animated as he is today. And, he tells his family farming story with gusto and passion. Farming in Pearce, Arizona all his life, Curry is a fourth-generation farmer. His grandfather and great-grandfather farmed land in Oklahoma.

Curry and his family grow beans, corn, watermelon, but mostly peppers of all kinds on several thousand acres of land. He’s grown just about every type of leafy green that exists too. In fact, he calls lettuce the “race car driving event in the agriculture world” because from planting to harvest the time to final harvest is so fast.

With his chili peppers, he’s focusing mainly on the genetic work. He sells his chili seeds to farmers all over the world including all the chili farmers in New Mexico. Yes, Hatch, New Mexico is famous for their chilis. But they’re getting their high-quality seed from an Arizona farmer.

“I love farming,” says Curry. “You need to do what you love in life and I love farming.”

In the 1980s, Curry developed a pepper that was mild in heat. This pepper variety, known as “Arizona 20,” is now the standard of the green and red chili in the United States. Curry also strives to create the perfect shaped and sized pepper that food suppliers need. In the farming industry, the genetic origins for 80 to 90 percent of the chilis grown commercially in the U.S. can be traced back to Curry’s farm in Arizona.

With more than 79 varieties of chili peppers, Curry can tell you just about everything there is to know about chili peppers. Peppers are believed to be one of the first plants to have been domesticated, with seeds from over 6000 years ago found in Peru and Mexico.

And, Curry’s farm is vertically integrated. But, you’ll have to watch the first video to find out more about just what that means. Plus, the most recent video we’ve done on Curry and peppers was put together by Ag Education Director Katie Aikins and includes more fun details about Chili peppers. 

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