An Economic Analysis of the Factors Affecting the U.S. Chile Pepper Production
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Twenty-four novelty varieties (Mexican and Asian) of hot peppers were grown in field and hydroponic conditions on the campus of Texas State University. Peppers were evaluated for suitability for production in Central Texas based on quantity and quality characteristics. Peppers were evaluated quantitatively by measuring overall yield of both field and greenhouse production for individual cultivars as measured in fresh weight and cumulative fruit production, average individual fruit size, as well as individual pepper cultivar characteristics such as average time to fruit and average length of fruit bearing time. Qualitative attributes of peppers were measured by rating pepper cultivars regarding insect and disease resistance, drought tolerance, pepper quality/aesthetics and pepper taste using a Likert scale system that allowed growers to rate characteristics of the plant on a 1-5 scale. Twenty-four varieties were narrowed to 15 based on growth and quality characteristics from the first season to the second season. Fifteen varieties are currently being grown and tested at this time. Peppers grown were evaluated by local restaurant owners/managers in San Marcos, Austin and San Antonio. Those included were asked to complete a survey asking if they recognize the products offered and if they value/would purchase the product in a dried or fresh state. Restaurant owners also estimated the price that they would be willing to pay for the peppers. Research is on-going. Results will be presented in the relevant journals.