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November 30, 2020 72 min

This episode is all about the Fish Pepper, an extremely flavorful, productive, and decorative variety that makes an excellent hot sauce. The white unripe fruit were used to flavor seafood dishes in the Black catering community of Baltimore in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Horace Pippin, the now-famed painter, shared this variety (and many others) with H. Ralph Weaver in the early 1940s in exchange for bee-sting therapy. Weaver's grandson (William Woys Weaver, who you will hear from in the second half of this episode) found the seeds in a baby food jar in his grandmother's deep freezer a couple decades later, many years after his grandfather's death, and was able to reintroduce them via Seed Savers Exchange.

In this episode, you will hear from Xavier Brown from Soilful City in Washington DC who makes Pippin Sauce from fish peppers grown by black farmers and urban gardeners in the DC and Maryland areas (including Denzel Mitchell, who you will also hear from). Soilful City offers their seeds through Truelove Seeds. You will also hear from Michael Twitty, author of the Cooking Gene. See links to the work of each of the speakers below.



  • Fish Pepper
  • Buena Mulata Pepper


    Xavier Brown, January 2020

  • Soilful City on Instagram: @soilful
  • Soilful City:
  • Soilful City at Truelove Seeds

    Denzel Mitchell, January 2020

  • Instagram: @fatherof5fivefifths
  • Denzell Mitchell at Farm Alliance Baltimore
  • "Introducing Denzel Mitchell of Five Seeds Farm in Baltimore”- Afroculinaria Blog by Michael Twitty, 2012

    Dr. William Woys Weaver, August 2019

  • Instagram: @roughwoodseeds, @williamwoysweaver
  • Roughwood Seed Collection:
  • Signed copies of Heirloom Vegetable Gardening

    Michael Twitty, April 2019

  • Instagram: @thecookinggene
  • Buy The Cooking Gene Book:, Barnes & Noble
  • Michael W. Twitty Facebook Page
  • The Cooking Gene Facebook Page
  • Michael W. Twitty on Twitter: @koshersoul
  • Article Owen wrote from this original interview [PDF]


    Seeds And Their People is a radio show where we feature seed stories told by the people who truly love them. Hosted by Owen Taylor of Truelove Seeds and Chris Bolden-Newsome of Sankofa Community Farm at Bartram’s Garden.



    Truelove Seeds

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    Sankofa Community Farm at Bartram’s Garden



  • Xavier Brown
  • Denzel Mitchell
  • William Woys Weaver
  • Michael Twitty
  • Horace Pippin
  • Sara Taylor
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