Meet the south-side family who saved its beloved pepper seed for 5 generations

Mar 09, 2017 672

BY: Mike Kilen

On Des Moines’ south side, peppers grow as freely as turf grass. Italian-Americans here eat them like candy. They can and freeze them. They put them in sauce, on pizza or in eggs, fry them up with olive oil and potatoes, or even spread them on bread as an alternative to peanut butter.

Among all the pepper love, a really good one stands out. An immigrant couple had it shipped over from their family in Italy in the early 1900s. Five generations since have had a hand in growing it. Now, the pepper is internationally important. Its seeds were shipped to Norway to be saved in a seed vault for all time, or at least as long as the planet is around.

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