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BLACK PEPPER (piper nigrum)
The term "Pepper" is generally used for denoting pungent condiments, furnished by the genera "piper" and "capsicum". Black pepper is the whole berry produced by the plant "piper nigrum" which resembles the betel-vine in general appearance and belongs to the same family.
When the black epidermal layer is removed while curing the berry, the produce obtained is creamy white, and is called "white pepper". The "Chilli" on the other hand, is known as "red pepper" or "cayenne pepper". The term pepper is used here for the plant "Piper Nigrum" and its berries.
There are several varieties of Pepper under cultivation in South India - with variation in the shape and size of the leaves, habit of climbing, size of berries, even the colour of the ripe berries.
Here at WATAPI, since we cultivate SHADE GROWN COFFEE, using "Silver Oak" (Grevilla Robusta) trees for shade, these trees are ideal for the climbing pepper vines. Silver Oak trees grow tall (up to 20m)
and straight up without large branches making it ideal for the pepper vines to grow on, and providing the right amount of shade not only for the coffee, but for the pepper too.
Two varieties of pepper are cultivated here at WATAPI,
The leaves and the berries of the first variety are larger than the second.
WATAPI having started only ten years ago, the oldest pepper vines are just seven years, and the yield has just started, and is improving year after year.
Needless to mention, WATAPI being a 100% ORGANIC PLANTATION, our PEPPER can be considered BLACK GOLD!
There is a marked difference in the pungency and flavour of our pepper when compared to the commercially available pepper.
The harvest season for Pepper is usually between February/March
and the dry pepper is ready for the market by about end-March each year.