Carolyn Jones of Bamboo Cove Farm intended to become a bamboo grower and in 2006 she planted a bamboo grove in McDonough, intending to sell plants and share her love of this member of the grass family with others. But in the years since, she got a little sidetracked after inheriting her family’s home on Jones Road in Hampton and starting a Certified Naturally Grown farm on the property there.
“The land was pristine. It had never had pesticides applied, never had any synthetic fertilizers. It was the perfect place to plant food.”
And plant food she has. Jones specializes in raising heirloom varieties and is growing vegetables like Malabar spinach and Red Burgundy okra she says is so good you can eat it raw. “I always select heirloom varieties because I’m into seed saving. Heirloom varieties can be difficult to grow and still be profitable, but we’ve been very successful with our tomato crop. And with our peppers.”
Jones is growing jalapeño, bell, sheepnose pimento, Corbaci and Carolina reaper peppers. The sheepnose is a small round red pepper with thick walls while the Corbaci is a Turkish heirloom with 10-inch long thin sweet peppers that twist as they grow. The Carolina reaper claims the title of world’s hottest pepper.
She sells her peppers and tomatoes at the Peachtree City, McDonough and Spalding farmers markets and at the Nash Family Farm monthly market.
We caught up with Jones because we were interested in what she’s doing with her peppers. She’s smoking them (and other fruit like cherries and pineapple) and using them to make lots of delicious products.
“My brother likes to smoke ribs and has a smoker. I was interested in smoking peppers because they’re delicious and can pick up the smoke flavor without burning.”
Jones is brimming with ideas for what to do with her smoked peppers. “They’re good seasoning for anything. I tell folks to start by putting them on sandwiches and hamburgers and to chop them and use them in rice, soups and stews. I’m going to start dehydrating them and grinding them into a powder.”
Bamboo Cove Farm Harvest is the name for the farm’s value-added products like smoked garlic jam, smoked jalapeño pepper jelly and smoked garlic tomato jam. You can buy these online at the farm’s website, bamboocovefarm.com, or at their booth at one of the farmers markets.