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Four questions to…Sweet Palermo grower Ronald Ton

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Ronald Ton, a grower from Naaldwijk in the Netherlands, has been happily cultivating Sweet Palermo for more than a decade. In his experience, children even prefer this sweet pointed pepper over confectionery.

Are you proud to be a grower of Sweet Palermo?

“Definitely. It’s a very special pepper, and that makes it interesting for me too. It’s not an easy crop to grow because it’s quite labour-intensive, but I’ve never had any regrets.”

What do you want everyone to know about Sweet Palermo?

“That it has an extremely thin skin. It works well in all kinds of dishes, but you can eat it raw as a snack too. Whenever my children go to scout camp, I always give them a couple of boxes; they prefer it over confectionery. Sweet Palermos are a tasty snack, just like cucumbers and tomatoes. I’ve noticed they’re also increasingly served at parties too, because of the healthy eating trend. That’s why vegetables are becoming more popular, and not just because people want to eat more healthily but also because they want to do their bit for the climate and the environment. In that case, they’ve come to the right place.”

Do you work with eco-friendly production methods then?

“Absolutely. Our Sweet Palermos don’t really need to be washed before eating. The peppers are already clean, because we primarily tackle pests using their natural enemies and hardly any chemicals. The use of chemicals on vegetables is governed by the maximum residue level (MRL) rules. Food retailers often impose even tighter rules, and they conduct regular tests too. We’re always way below the limits.”

What’s your favourite Sweet Palermo recipe?

“Sweet Palermo on the barbecue with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Barbecuing it makes it even sweeter. Whenever we invite a group of friends over for a barbecue, it’s a hit with everyone – skin and all.”

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