Picking Peppers: The Difference between Red, Green, Orange, Yellow, and Purple Peppers

Fisher Hill Farm Peppers

We see the color difference and the occasional difference in price but what does it really mean?

On our farm, Purple and Yellow peppers start and end the same color. They do have a slightly different flavor profile and might be used slightly differently depending on what you are cooking that evening. Purple peppers are green underneath and that purple skin and can turn a little green depending on how you cook them and for how long.

Yellow Peppers (Also called Lemon) – Mild and sweet flavor, but not quite as sweet as reds. They still have a slightly bitter taste, but not much grass flavor. They certainly will brighten up a veggie tray or salad. There is only a few yellow veggies that are normally eaten raw!

Purple Peppers – Semi-sweet and semi bitter flavor. They have a bit of grass to them as they are somewhat green as well. They can easily be eaten raw or cooked in any dish. They look really cool as a stuffed pepper!

Green Peppers – Slightly bitter flavor raw, but sweeten up as they cook. A green pepper is a red pepper that hasn’t been able to completely ripen on the plant! They have a grassy flavor that lends itself to combining with onions, garlic, celery, and carrots! Their flesh remains stable under heat and makes a great stuffed pepper.

Orange Peppers – Semi sweet flavor in between a green and red. An orange pepper is a green pepper that has not fully ripened yet. They go good with just about anything and can be easily eaten raw or cooked. Since they are more ripe than a green they can overcook easy.

Red Peppers – A green pepper that has been left to fully ripen on the vine. This is the reason the cost is usually more than a green pepper. They are the sweetest and have very little of the grassy flavor left of a green pepper. Much like the orange pepper, they can overcook easily because they are so ripe, but can lend themselves to a delicious stuffed pepper, especially if the stuffing is a little more savory.

This is not to say that you can’t use these interchangeably. These flavors are mostly nuances and probably won’t be detected easily. But there are differences and someone with a discernable pallet (like a farmer!) will be able to taste it.

Most people don’t realize that a pepper turns from green, to orange, and finally to red on the vine and that it’s the same seed. On our farm the Lemons and Purples are a different varietal.

Use Rainbow Chard Stems to make Salsa

What to make with Chard Stems - Fisher Hill Farm

It’s a common question. Rainbow Chard is a popular farmers market item but tossing those stems seems like a waste. People often ask what we do with them.

There’s a few things you can do. You can sautee them in a pan separate from the leaf and then add it together, or make a separate dish with them altogether with a little garlic. You can add them into a hash or into a quiche. But one of the most fun things to do is make salsa.

Chard salsa is super easy to make, is very sweet, can easily be made spicy, and goes really great with our eggs and chicken. You more than likely have everything you need in your kitchen to make it already, but we have a version straight from the farmers market that will kick your afternoon snack into high gear.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

One market bunch of Rainbow Chard stems (leaves removed)

3 or 4 Scapes

1 Spring onion

1 fresh lemon

Salt and pepper

(hot pepper optional)

WHAT YOU’LL DO:

Fine chop the Chard, Onion, and Scapes. Squeeze the fresh lemon over it. Add the salt and pepper (add a hot pepper to your liking or hot sauce). Mix well. Cover. Put it in the fridge for at least 2 hours. That’s it.

The lemon juice will break down the chard stem just enough to make it easier to eat. This might be done just as well with a lime. But lemon goes well with the flavor the chard stem gives and also helps keep everything from getting brown.

Here’s a super quick video that shows the process:

It’s so simple! Just make sure to cut everything pretty small so it has more surface area to react with the lemon and is easy to chew.

We have used this for a quick dip, to top our tacos, or to throw over some eggs. It tastes even better after a day in the fridge but isn’t necessary.

If you’ve been throwing your chard stems away, this is a quick way to make something new with what you didn’t use before. We want you to come away from the market with as much food to stock up your house as possible.

If you decide to try this recipe, we’d love to hear from you. If you know of another way to use chard stems or any of our other products, we’d love to hear from you! We’ve learned more from our customers over the years than we could ever learn in a lifetime on how our products are best used.

We don’t like to see waste! Compost what you don’t use or check out ways to use every last drop of what the earth gives us. If we share these recipes and ideas we can reduce waste and get some really cool recipes and ideas out there.

Thanks everyone. We can’t wait to see you at the next market.

What Else Can I Make with Turnips?

Fisher Hill Farm - Rochester New York

Turnip cakes have a fresh and spicy taste and goes well with everything.

Some of our customers have been asking about turnips lately. We have some fresh turnips that we have been bringing with us to the market and there’s a number of people who have never had them before. The easiest thing to do with them is cut them up and eat them with a pinch of salt!


They can be roasted, sautéed, or steamed just as easily too. But in the past, we have made turnip cakes with them, or maybe one giant turnip pancake and split it up with a pizza cutter. It’s not too much work and can be a side, a main dish, or an appetizer.

Fisher Hill Farm - Rochester New York
Fisher Hill Farm – Rochester New York

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

A bunch of turnips (its usually between 3 and 6 depending on size)

Couple cloves of garlic

2 Eggs

1/2 cup of flour (maybe a little more)

Salt and pepper to your liking

Fisher Hill Farm - Rochester New York
Fisher Hill Farm – Rochester New York

WHAT YOU’LL DO:

Shred the turnips. We used a Cuisinart but you can do it by hand with a grater. After you’ve got them shredded up, squeeze out as much water as you can. Just using your hands should be good enough. Chop the garlic and throw it in there along with the shredded turnips. Add the 2 eggs and mix well with salt and pepper. Then add the flour (depending on how much water you were able to squeeze out you may need more) and mix well.

Fisher Hill Farm - Rochester New York
Fisher Hill Farm – Rochester New York

It shouldn’t stick together in a tight ball, but add just enough flour for the mixutre to stay together without completely coming apart. Grease a pan and flatten it into a pancake. We have a big non stick frying pan so we could fit all of ours in one pan to make one giant pancake. You can easily cook them in batches. Or really however you like. The thickness of a regular pancake you’d get at the diner is perfect.

Once they’re browned on both sides, they’re done, about 6 minutes on each side with medium high heat. You can serve them up immediately hot. We had ours with a bit of arugula, some sour cream, and some radish relish. But they’re really good cold too, dipped in a little ranch dressing!

Fisher Hill Farm - Rochester New York
Turnip Cakes with Sour Cream and Radish Relish – Fisher Hill Farm

Turnips are versatile veggies that don’t get enough attention. As great as this recipe is and as awesome as so many recipes can be, we still think that a fresh turnip with a pinch of salt is still the best way to eat them!

Smoke Box Chicken

One of the great things about the summer months is getting a good barbecue going. We wanted an easy way to get smokehouse chicken without worrying about burning our dinner.

There’s actually two ways you can use this Smoke Box. You can load it up and put it directly on your gas grill or you can get some hot coals and place it on them. We chose to try it that way because it was slightly more adventurous for a blog post! But putting the box on the grill makes it even easier and allows you to choose a temperature.

The smoker box.

The first step is to prepare the raw chicken. We used a store bought barbecue dry rub for the legs. We coated them in the morning and put them in a plastic bag in the fridge. For the breast, we poured a little Italian dressing over it and put it in the fridge. Simple preparation is often times the best!

We got our fire going and let it die down to just some hot coals. If you choose to use your grill make sure you preheat it to the desired temp you want to smoke at.

To load the smoke box you soak the wood chips in water about 30 minutes before loading them in the box. Place the wood chips down and then the tray with the meat on it, then close the box up.

The wood chip layer.
The meat goes on top of the wood chips on tray that inserts.
Smoke box goes on top of the coals.

The legs are smaller so they were going to be done a lot sooner. Make sure you use a thermometer to get the cooking temp right. Chicken should be at 180. The legs did cook a bit quicker, but they only took about 45 minutes on the fire before they were done. You could actually smell that they were done and boy oh boy did it smell delicious!

Smoked chicken legs.

We brushed on a little bit of barbecue sauce at the end and let it dry up a little on the leg before taking them off. They were incredible, soaking up a good amount of the smoke flavor without masking the dry rub. The sweet sauce was a nice little addition and added the right amount of sugar to it.

The breast took a bit longer. But we were really thinking that it was going to make excellent sandwiches after it was cold. We were right. It was. But we couldn’t help cutting into it when it was still hot.

Smoked chicken breast on the bone.

Overall this was a tasty experiment. It might be easier to just put the box on the grill and smoke it that way, but it was fun to have a fire and make a bigger even out of it. The chicken was delicious.

We’ll have fresh chicken all summer long for all your grilling and smoking needs!

Come visit us at the market!

Brighton Market Opens This Weekend; What to expect on our tables and more

Greenhouse Fisher Hill Farm Rochester NY

Hopefully spring is here to stay for a while.

No more snow, now more cold windy days, and only light freezes that barely impact the crops. Its amazing how fast the mornings warm up and a sweatshirt is just right for chores versus just a few weeks ago when winter gear was still needed the whole day through. The wind is getting warmer at the top of the hill and that means spring is here to stay.

Winter season on the farm is wrapping up quick. We are tying up loose ends before the summer season gets into full swing. It won’t be long. We are working on the last of the egg laying house expansion this week. We have been adding on to each laying hen house so we can accommodate more birds to cover the egg needs in the main season. We have some tractor maintenance to get done too and then its time to get planting. 

On March 23rd we panted the first peas of the season. They are just starting to break through the soil. By the end of the week they should make nice straight lines down the field.

The garlic is growing really fast too. Only 14 days between the two photos!

The greenhouse is in full swing and half full. So far peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and okra have been planted. Onions, leeks, shallots, scallions, lettuce, chard, kale, and beets have been started by other greenhouse for us. it is at first a slow process, but it goes quick. Once things break ground anyway.

Greenhouse Fisher Hill Farm Rochester NY
Greenhouse Fisher Hill Farm Rochester NY

Chickens have been started so we can have them fresh every week starting May 8th. We get chicks every other week all summer so we can have fresh chicken for the market. We raise extra each week that we freeze so we can sell them all throughout the winter. We make sure they have as much free reign as possible and they have a steady diet of 100% GMO free and locally milled feed that is to our specifications.

Locally Grown Chicken at Fisher Hill Farm Rochester New York
Chicks getting accustomed to the new barn.

The Brighton Market is starting early this year. This Sunday April 11th to be exact. It will be nice to see everyone again and to get back into the regular swing of the markets. We’ll have a full table this Sunday for you and a similar one for the next few until the new crops break and ripen. We will keep you informed as much as we can so you can plan your shopping.

This week expect:

Micro Greens (spicy, radish, pea, sunflower)

Carrots, Parsnips, Onions, Potatoes, Rutabaga, Kohlrabi, Beets, Celeriac

Frozen Chicken, Frozen Chicken Liver, hearts, and feet, Frozen Turkey, Frozen Duck

Eggs

You can expect something similar at the Rochester Public Market on Saturday.

Hang in there! The season is about to break wide open in the next couple weeks. Coming soon will be scapes, asparagus, rhubarb, fresh chicken, and so much more. It’s been a long winter, but the payoff is a beautiful spring and summer.

Brighton New York Farmers Market Tent Set Up