Q&A with Jim Stewart and Cory Dombrowski
Q. The three new peppers for the East are named Gridiron, Blitz, and Touchdown – What’s the significance of these names?
Jim: Our Eastern peppers have football-themed names that correlate with their respective durability, maturity and yield levels.
Q. Can you elaborate on the individual names? What sets each pepper apart ‘on and off of the field?’
Jim: Of course! Gridiron is like an Astroturf field – it’s a deep, dark green color, has high-quality, durable fruit and fast in terms of the being an early-maturing variety.
Blitz’s name is self-explanatory; we liken it to a blitzing linebacker – fast and early-maturing.
Touchdown is our mid-maturing variety. It puts points on the scoreboard; the football equivalent of extended harvests, which enable maximum yields.
Q. Gridiron, Blitz and Touchdown were specifically bred to face the challenges of the East Coast climate and meet the needs of Eastern growers. What characteristics of these peppers allow them to deliver for the grower?
Jim: These peppers are tough! Their high quality is very beneficial for growers in the East.
Cory: Their BLS 1-5 resistance is an important characteristic. It really sets these peppers apart.
Q. What kind of results are growers on the East Coast seeing with the new Football Trio of Peppers?
Cory: Gridiron and Blitz have proven to be very early, high quality and dark green in color, while also providing high yields.
Jim: Touchdown’s first pick yields look very promising. Also, because of its plant structure, it could possibly be considered a no stake variety.
Q. Can you give some specifics regarding which regions our peppers are being grown?
Jim: Large numbers are being grown in Central and South Florida.
Cory: Thus far, we’ve seen very positive Fall results, and early Winter results look very promising, as well.
Q. What upcoming challenges do pepper growers on the East face?
Cory: Phytophia pressure is a major concern, along with BLS 1-5 and BLS 1-10.
Jim: Our peppers have BLS 1-5 resistance, but we are currently breeding to address new concerns. The growing environment is never stagnant. We pride ourselves on consistently introducing products that adapt to the grower’s needs as they become known.
Q. What can packers and shippers expect to see from these peppers? What about consumers?
Jim: Packers and shippers can expect to see high quality and high yield
Cory: Consumers can expect a high quality product, as well. These peppers are bred to hold their quality all the way through the consumer chain!
For more information on our Eastern Pepper program, visit the Top Crop page!
Meet the Experts:
Jim Stewart is Sakata’s Assistant Area Manager for the Florida region. He spends an extensive amount of time in the trial fields and collaborating with Sakata’s pepper breeders. Being from the southeast, he’s well-acquainted with the climate, growing conditions and other factors that help us breed the best possible peppers for the East. Jim sees himself as a tool for growers to utilize to get the most out of the Eastern pepper program.
Cory Dombrowski is a Product Development Manager for the Sakata Pepper program. His vast knowledge of every type of pepper enables him to better serve the eastern regions, and provide insight on growing peppers all over the country. Cory is dedicated to growing the Sakata pepper program above and beyond its already sterling set of accomplishments, and providing his services as an asset and tool to all Eastern pepper growers.