65 days — 'Neapolitan' is a very early, sweet and mild pepper with three lobed fruits, measuring four inches by two inches that grow upright on the sturdy, compact plants. It makes a beautiful show of changing colors. Starting with a light yellowish-green hue it changes to a darker lime green then to burnt-orange and finishing in a brilliant red. Very beautiful with all the different shades and colors on the plant at the same time.
Plants are strong, vigorous and continue to bear until frost. Production is very heavy with a single plant providing up to thirty to forty mature fruit at a time. This is a Dunton family favorite that we use as a frying pepper, fresh, frozen, pickled and jellied. The 'Neapolitan' pepper was introduced by William Henry Maule in 1904 after they noticed, ". . . a few Italian [market] gardeners were sending peppers by the carload to New York, Boston, Philadelphia and even Chicago, one to three weeks earlier than any other pepper could be shipped." After searching for the source, they found that the pepper originated from a small settlement of Italians located a few miles from Maule's Panmure Farm in South Jersey.[1,2] In their 1904 seed catalog, Maule stated that, "With considerable difficulty I secured a small quantity of the seed at an extravagant price."
'Neapolitan' was unique and desirable enough that by 1907, Maule, Johnson & Stokes, Dreer, Bolgiano, Vaughan, Henderson, Olds and T. W. Woods had introduced it to their customers as well. Our original seed sample was sent to us by David Pendergrass of Middle Tennessee whose source was USDA GRIN Accession Number NSL 20165. It was reportedly submitted to the USDA's seed storage facility back in 1962 by the short-lived and now long gone, SRS Seed Company. Each packet contains 0.25 gram, which is approximately 30 seeds.
- "The Maule Seed Book for 1904," William Henry Maule.
- Garden and Farm Manual," Johnson and Stokes, 1905.
- SRS Seed Company (Seed Research Specialists Seed) was founded in 1958 with the merger of five smaller, family-owned, California based seed companies. It was subsequently sold in 1965 with the new owners changing the name to Niagara Seeds.
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