Plant Answers  >  Nethery LJOE (Largest Jalapeno On Earth)

Wildseed Farms Fires it up this July, 2007,
with a new twist Gourmet Chili Pepper and Salsa Festival

Spice it up! July, 2007

Wildseed Farms announces a new festival this summer on July 28 and 29, called the Gourmet Chili Pepper and Salsa Festival. Wildseed Farms, known for its flowers, has planted several fields of peppers: chilis for ristras and drying, specialty and ethnic peppers, sweet and hot peppers, southwestern style chills, ornamental peppers and more.

PEPPERS and John Thomas in front of zinnias in July, 2007


The dates are July 28, 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. and July 29, noon - 6 p.m.; Admission, 12 and older $8, under 12 - $2. The admission includes everything at Wildseed Farms: Festival grounds, Tasters Tent, Guest Chefs and Speakers, Butterfly Haus, Market Center, Brewbonnet Biergarten, colorful wildflower fields, and spicy pepper fields. Pick your own flowers and/or peppers, $3.50 per container.

John R. Thomas, Wildseed's founder and president, knows that color reigns on the vast, open fields along the highways. In 1983, there were very few sources for wildflower seeds; the seeds that were available were prohibitively expensive. The public*s love of wildflowers and demands from landscape contractors and the highway department motivated Thomas to turn his sideline turf seeding business into a full time wildflower farm. In addition, he developed a machine to plant the tiny seeds and another to harvest them. Then the new company pioneered the practice of planting wildflowers in rows on large acreage. Today, Wildseed Farms is the largest working wildflower farm in the U.S. At its Hill Country headquarters, the farm has more than 200 acres under cultivation. Wildseed Farms produces 88 varieties of wildflower seeds.

This new festival will not only promote chili peppers and wildflowers but educate the folks as well. Speakers and Chefs scheduled: JOHN R. THOMAS: Taking the wild out of wildflowers; AL WAGNER: So you want to make and market your own salsa; Chef ROSS BURTWELL: Having fun with spices; LARRY STEIN: Growing peppers successfully; JERRY PARSONS: Hot peppers and insane peppers; and DAVID RODRIGUEZ: Beautiful landscape color in the Texas heat.

Some of the great music lined up: Stereo Highway, Thomas Michael Riley, Zydeco Blanco and the Bill Smallwood Jazz Band just to name a few. Plus booths to sample salsas.

For more information call 830-997-8515 or toll free 1-866-839-3378 or visit or


AL WAGNER: So you want to make and market your own salsa?!

Pepper and Gerber Baby food.


Dr Al Wagner received his B.S. in Agricultural Education in 1969 from Texas A&M University. He received his M. S. and Ph.D. in Food Sciences from Texas A&M University in 1972 and 1981, respectively. Dr. Wagner is a Member of the Graduate Faculty of Texas A&M University. He is also Associate Department Head, Professor and Extension Program Leader for Horticulture. Dr Wagner is interested in methods to extend shelf life of raw fruits and vegetables and in working out methods to improve the quality of our processed foods.

*I think a student should not be spoon fed and told what to do in all situations. They should be allowed to be creative using their own judgment I give guidance so a student does not wander from the pertinent subject matter.*

LARRY STEIN: Growing peppers successfully

Dr. Larry Stein received his B.S. in horticulture with emphasis on fruits and nuts from Texas A&M University in 1979. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in horticulture from Texas A&M University in 1981 and 1985, respectively.

Stein*s emphasis has been on production horticulture working with pecans, fruits, grapes and vegetable crops. He has done a lot of work on variety screening both in fruits and vegetables. Some of his work has focused on using drip irrigation to not only conserve water, but to improve fruit quality and production. He is currently doing a lot of work on crop load management of pecans via trunk shaking. He is a contributing editor to PLANTanswers on the Web.

JERRY PARSONS: Hot peppers and insane peppers



Habanero, Hot Pepper Habanero - The famous 10-alarm pepper from the Caribbean. The legendary hottest of all peppers, its name means "from Havana." Habanero and its kin long ago migrated from the Caribbean Islands to Central America where they remain extremely popular today. A close relative of the Jamaican Scotch Bonnet, the short, wrinkled, green fruits (1-1/2" long by 1" wide) turn yellow-orange. To complement its searing heat, Habanero has a delicious, pungent, smoky quality unlike any other pepper; many people find its flavor and aroma irresistible in sauces and salsas. Most habaneros will rate between 100,000 and 300,000 Scoville units.

TAM Mild Habanero -- Capsicum chinese var. Habanero (originally Spanish "Javanero") is the scientific name for the Habanero Pepper. TAM Mild Habanero is a yellow fruit 10% as hot (10,000 to 30,000 Scoville units) as the standard orange Habanero. Kevin Crosby, a Texas A&M Researcher in Weslaco, has recently created a mild version of the habanero pepper which retains the aroma and flavor of the traditionalhabanero pepper. The milder version was obtained by crossing the Yucatan habanero pepper with a heatless habanero from Bolivia over several generations.

TAM Mild Habanero


=========================================Okala - released from Oklahoma by Dr. James Motes, this pepper is hotter than a Habanero with a Scoville unit rating of 400,000.

Okala from Oklahoma



TAM Jaloro Yellow Jalapeño - 2 inch, yellow hot wax, maturing to red. Similar shape and size to jalapeno, with typical cuticular cracks. Scoville of 15-20,000. Resistant to four viruses and extremely prolific small plant.


TAM Cascabella -- Small, round fruit that is usually dried and has a distinct nutty flavor. The name is Spanish for "rattle" or "jingle bell," and derives from the rattling noise madeby the seeds inside the dried pod. Has rating of 3000 Scoville units. Fruit is one inch long.

TAM Cascabella



TAM Valley Hot Cayenne -- Long, thin fruit that was transported by the Portuguese to China and India, where it is used widely. Often dried and ground into powder. Has rating of 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville units. Fruit is about 5-7 inches long.


TAM Mild Jalapeño II -- Jalapeño are botanically classified as Capsicum annuum, of the Solanaceae family. TAM Mild Jalapeño II are of mild flavor and reduced heat with a fruit size larger than the original TAM Mild Jalapeño , and are used extensively in pickled form to spice dishes, and in mash form as the main ingredient for mild hot sauces. The fruit of TAM Mild Jalapeño II is 5-6 inches and has a Scoville unit rating of about 2500.


TAM Mild Jalapeno II



Nethery LJOE (Largest Jalapeno On Earth) is a open-pollinated selection from TAM Mild Jalapeño II made by Betty Nethery of Junction, Texas over a ten year period. It is normally much larger than TAM Mild Jalapeño II and has a Scoville unit rating of about 2500 or hotter.

LJOE by Betty_Nethery

Click here for a gallery of peppers featured at the Gourmet Chili Pepper and Salsa Festival Trial on July 28th and 29th at Wildseed Farms.

Tuxtlas Serrano -- Thin, tapered fruit that is green when unripe but turns red when mature. Due to its thin skin, it does not need to be peeled before use. The fruit of Tuxtlas Serrano is 2 inches and has a Scoville unit rating of 8,000 - 22,000.


Ixtapa Jalapeño -- Resistant to races 1, 2, and 3 of bacterial leaf spot. Fruit similar to Grande.


Cubanelle Pepper -- A long slender banana-shaped pepper that is considered to be a sweet pepper, despite having a mild to moderate spicy heat. Ranging in color from green to yellow or red, this pepper has a glossy outer skin that is smooth and firm in texture. Also known as Italian frying pepper, this pepper is mildly hot and very similar to an Anaheim pepper. Cabanelle peppers are often used in casseroles, salads, pizzas, and as a pepper to be stuffed with a savory filling.


Maroni Pepper - A long slender banana-shaped Cayenne pepper that is considered to be a sweet pepper. Ranging in color from green to yellow or red, this pepper has a glossy outer skin that is smooth and firm in texture. Cayenne pepper is said to have originated in Cayenne in French Guiana and the Maroni River forms the French Guiana border in the west.


Grande* Jalapeño -- The jalapeño is a small to medium-sized chile pepper that is prized for the hot, burning sensation that it produces in the mouth when eaten. Ripe, the jalapeño can be 2-3* inches (5-9 cm) and either red, or more commonly, green. It is a cultivar of the species Capsicum annuum. It is named after the city of Xalapa, Veracruz, where it was traditionally produced. Jalapeños are a pod type of Capsicum. The growing period for a jalapeño plant is 70-80 days. When mature, the plant stands two and a half to three feet tall. Typically, a single plant will produce twenty five to thirty five pods. During a growing period, a plant will be picked multiple times. As the growing season comes to an end, the jalapeños start to turn red. The jalapeño rates between 2,500 and 10,000 Scoville units in heat - The Grande is 8 - 10,000.

Parsons* Potent Chile Penguin (Red) -- A complete write-up with images can be seen at:

This is the ONLY plant Parsons has named for himself because his wife Carolyn told him this was the only way to have the term *Potent* associated with his name!? The Penguin name came with the confusion with other common names of the plant such as chile petin, chile pequin, piquin and chiltepin-Parsons can*t spell so the name turned out to be Penguin since the shape of this fruit is penguin-shaped. The true pequin pepper has a compact growth habit with bright green, ovate leaves and small fruits that rarely exceed 2 cm in length. Like most chiles, fruits start out green, ripening to brilliant red at maturity. Pequin peppers are very hot, often 7-8 times hotter than jalapeños on the Scoville scale (30,000-60,000 units). Flavor is described as citrusy, smoky, and nutty.Parsons* Potent Chile Penguin fruit are twice as large as a standard pequin and four times hotter.

Parsons Potent Red


Parsons* Potent Chile Penguin (Yellow) -- Images can be seen at: Parsons* Potent Chile Penguin (Yellow) is the same size as the Red Penguin but is much hotter - some have said it is hotter than a Habanero.

Parsons Potent Yellow
Parsons Potent Yellow, too



Jerry Parsons, Ph.D., is the horticulture specialist with the Texas Cooperative Extension in San Antonio. He has been a popular Extension personality for more than two decades, becoming something of a cult figure in the agricultural world of South Texas. Parsons has been responsible for educating and entertaining the Alamo City and surrounding area with weekly horticultural information on TV and radio and in newspaper for 25 years.

Parsons is without a doubt the most popular public gardening speaker in the Lone Star State, sometimes deriding but always delighting gardeners with his enthusiastic combination of irreverent and educational humor.

Although his specialty is vegetable production, Parsons has revolutionized the plant introduction arena and is the father of CEMAP (the Coordinated Educational Marketing Assistance Program) at Texas A&M University. Similar programs throughout the United States now copy the plant introduction and promotion program.

Since 1974 when Parsons came to San Antonio as a horticulturist for Texas Cooperative Extension, a system of testing and local marketing has introduced productive hybrid tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, sweet corn, onion, squash, broccoli, spinach cauliflower, mandarin oranges as container plants for colder climates to Texas gardeners.

He also has introduced such popular flowers as *Blue Shade* Ruellia and *Bonita* pink *Katie Dwarf Ruellia; *Tex Tuf verbenas, *Firebush* (Hamelia patens); *Texas Gold* columbine; Indigo Spires* salvia; *Carpet* petunias; *Mari Mum* marigold; *Plum Parfait*, *Eclipse* and *Burgundy Sun* coleus; *Belinda*s Dream* rose; *Blue Princess* verbena; *VIP* petunia and *Laura Bush* petunia; Firespike (Odontonema strictum); *Moy Grande*, *Red River and *Flare* perennial hibiscus; *Bunny Bloom* larkspur; Dwarf Bush Morning Glory; Purple Heart (Setcreasea pallida). Stirring up a little controversy, he introduced a host of new Texas bluebonnets colors such as *Barbara Bush* lavender, Abbott Pink, and *Texas Maroon* (*Alamo Fire* -- his and God*s own creations. He also developed the Texas state flower into a bedding plant, spurring what is now a multi million dollar industry.

Parsons began doing TV and radio shows in the late 1970s, both locally and syndicated. He also wrote for the San Antonio Light for 18 years, beginning in 1975. In 1999, Parsons began contributing the Season to Season Calendar for South Central Texas to every issue of the Neil Sperry Magazine. He launched KENS Radio (AM 1160) with his television gardening show on October 14, 1994. The KENS radio 1160 AM Parsons Gardening Program lasted for 6 years. Parsons teamed with Bill McReynolds on the WOAI-AM (AM1200) Gardening show for 17 years and teamed with Bill Cody and Jerry King on KKYX-AM (AM 680) for the first gardening show in history which incorporated country music with gardening information. Bill and Jerry also used this format in Nashville, Tennessee, on the Grand Old Opry station WSM-AM.

Parsons has been doing a call in radio program with Dr. Calvin Finch, Bexar County ex Extension Horticulturist and a Director of the San Antonio Water System, on Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. on KLUP Radio (AM 930) since 1999.

DAVID RODRIGUEZ: Beautiful landscape color in the Texas heat

David Rodriguez is an extension horticulturist for Texas Cooperative Extension Bexar County, representing the Texas A&M University System. The San Antonio native also serves as the coordinator of the Master Gardener program for the area. He brings more than 27 years of local garden and yard experience to the table, graduating from Texas A&M at College Station with a Masters degree in 1992.

His first taste in the garden came at the age of 10, working at Grimm*s Nursery. His father worked with the Grimm family for more than 50 years. In between classes at Mount Sacred Heart School and Antonian Prep, he learned the ins and outs of the local greenery, picking up tips on everything from wholesale gardening to residential landscaping. He also put his knowledge to use at a number of other local nurseries before taking the post with the University system.

JOHN R. THOMAS: Taking the wild out of wildflowers

John R Thomas is a native South Texan who grew up in a ranching family in Eagle Lake, Texas. Thomas received his B.A. in Business Administration from Sam Houston State University, and in 1971, became a partner in the family*s cattle and farm operation

Combining his planting expertise, Texas ingenuity, and business knowledge, Thomas initiated a turf seeding company in 1971 and developed it into one of the largest companies of its kind in the South. While seeding turf and native grasses in five states, developers and landscape architects asked the question: *Why not wildflowers?*

In response to this, Thomas formed Wildseed Farms and invented two machines to produce the results he dreamed of: the J Thom 42 Wildseeder and Vacuum Seed Retriever (VSR). Mr. Thomas is now considered one of the leading experts on wildflowers and is actively used as a consultant top many state highway departments including Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and Ohio.

In 1997, John R. Thomas designed and constructed Wildseed Farms Market Center located on 200 acres east of Fredericksburg, Texas, on Highway 290. This working wildflower farm features walking trails, display gardens, a nursery, a refreshment area, a large gift shop and a live butterfly exhibit. Thomas is a member of several professional societies, and is in demand as a speaker on the natural blooming beauty of wildflowers at seminars, conventions and clubs across the country.

Thomas* Wildseed Farms story has been highlighted in National Geographic, The Wall Street Journal, Texas Highways, Southern Living, (Country Living, American Profile, and national trade magazines such as Nursery Manager, Progressive farmer, Texas Gardener, and Garden Center Magazine.

Betty Nethery with LJOE
Betty Nethery with LJOE

Betty Nethery with LJOE pepper at Wildseed Salsa & Pepper Festival
Betty Nethery with LJOE pepper at Wildseed Salsa & Pepper Festival
Nethery & Parsons with LJOE pepper at Salsa & Pepper Festival
Nethery & Parsons with LJOE pepper at Salsa & Pepper Festival
Nethery LJOE
Nethery LJOE

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