I have two plants this season; picked up at our church greenhouse and I just liked the name. Then I heard a radio program on local foods and a chef extolled the virtues of this mid-Atlantic, specifically B'more, pepper. They are really pretty, a striped light green and white, and are hot but not terribly.
Has anyone grown these?
I've never grown Fish peppers, but I've tasted ones grown locally near Philadelphia. The ones I saw would ripen to a dark red color, and could actually get quite diabolically hot...so be cautious with them! The level of heat in a pepper varies so much based on conditions though, so it could be that I just had an unusually strong example of them, but the ones I ate were consistently hot--like, Serrano hot, way beyond Jalapeno hot.
Yep. They are both ornamental and cookable. The size of the plant was quite different in two successive years, but one of those had much less sun and hot days than the other.
For seeds try J.L.Hudson, Seed Savers Exchange, Garden Crossings, Tomato Growers Supply and several others. Don't try saving seeds, they probably won't produce variegated peppers.
Why would saved seeds not produce variegated plants? They are an open-pollinated variety not a hybrid and pepper plants are highly self-fertile and normally self pollinate. From my experience usually only about 1 in 10 plants I grow from saved seeds turns out to be cross pollinated. To be sure he could always bag some flowers, or manually pollinate some flowers and save those seeds. Both methods are pretty simple and easy.
The plants are interesting and the pods have a very cool looking striped pattern with many different shades of green and then red before they go completely red. The variegated leaf thing is due to recessive genes that make parts of the leaf unable to produce chlorophyll if I remember correctly. So really it's kind of a genetic defect, but it makes for an interesting looking plant. I don't care too much for the flavor though. It's not bad by any means, definitely better than most ornamental types, but they're fairly bland and unremarkable in my opinion. The heat is really mild to me, but I eat a lot of spicy food so your mileage may vary. Mine were pretty large and productive and had no problems.
Fish peppers have an albino gene which will disappear if crossed with another pepper. Since I grow all my peppers close together, I can't count on saved seeds breeding true. Besides, commercial seeds are not that expensive. True you can depend on the variegation if you bag blossoms and manually pollinate, but I don't have time for such pampering.