Jasmyn Rissie Hot Pepper (Medium Heat)

Jasmyn Risse pepper plants. A South African hot pepper (medium heat) grown by Shine Springs Farm

The Jasmyn Rissie is a South African pepper that’s relatively rare in the United States. I’ve never seen a plant in any of the box stores and have never seen any farmers selling the Jasmyn Rissie at their farmers market stands.

The Jasmyn Rissie is what we call a medium-hot pepper. It’s not nearly as hot as a habañero pepper, and probably a bit less hot than the average hot jalapeño pepper.

The pepper itself is round shape, about 2″ – 3″ in diameter, maybe size of a small plum or large cherry. Green at first, as usual, and turns a beautiful red when fully-ripened. I let them finish ripening on the countertop for a few days after gathering. If you refrigerate the green ones that will delay the ripening process.

The peppers are great for eating raw (if you like some heat) and for stir-fries or in recipes. They’re probably a bit small for stuffing, but not out of the question since small stuff mushrooms are a thing.

The photo below shows a jar of Jasmyn Rissie peppers just after I’d jarred them in brine to start the lacto-fermentation process. That’s my preferred way to preserve peppers at the end of the season.

Four jars of hot and sweet peppers undergoing lacto-fermentation in salt brine. From left to right: Quart jar of mix of hot peppers; second from left is a half-gallon wide mouth jar containing mostly round green Jasmyn Risse (which turn red when fully ripend); third jar from left is half-gallon Mason jar containing a mix of sweet banana peppers, Petit Marseillais, Hungarian Paprika and Melrose peppers. 4th jar is a Fido jar also containing the banana, Petit Marsellais, Hungarian Paprika and Melrose peppers.
Lacto-fermenting peppers in salt brine. The second jar contains mostly Jasmyn Risse — the green round peppers. There’s one red Jasmyn Rissie in middle of jar, lower left center. The orange pepper near top is a Brazilian starfish. The orange at bottom is a Petit Marseillais, a French heirloom. The two jars on right side contain a combination of sweet banana, Petit Marseillais, Hungarian Paprika and Melrose peppers.

I grew Jasmyn Rissie for the first time in 2020 and found it to be a hardy plant and prolific producer, both at the farm (where it was dry for a good bit of July and August) and in my raised bed garden at my house in Birmingham. Production really kicked in in September. This year, I planted extra plants to sell, along with the peppers when they are ready.

Costaluto Fiorentino Tomatoes

Costaluto Fiorentino Italian Heirloom Tomato Plants in a range of different pot sizes with tomatoes about 15-inches tall or taller Grown by Shine Springs Farm

The Costaluto Fiorentino is an Italian heirloom tomato from the Tuscany region of Italy. My research says it’s heat tolerant, but also grows well under a variety of conditions, is VERY productive, and good for slicing, stuffing, and making tomato sauces. That degree of versatility is quite attractive in a tomato!

Because of the intense heat and humidity of Alabama summers, frequent dry periods, lack of irrigation—and my love of Italian food—I decided to try the Costaluto Fiorentino this year.

I discovered the Costaluto Fiorentino heirloom while browsing tomato seeds on the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange website and liked what I read.

One detail that SESE does not mention is that these tomato plants apparently grow to something approximating the height of Jack’s beanstalk. After transplanting the seedlings from the starter tray into individual pots, I noticed they were growing exceptionally tall, very quickly. I also learned from a casual conversation with another heirloom tomato grower that there are two different types of Costaluto. Those two factors led me to do further research on the Costaluto Fiorentino to learn more about what I’m growing.

Comments about the Costaluto Fiorentino posted on the Rare Seeds website are quite positive:

  • Prolific producer
  • Tasty for salads, slicing, drying, sauces, and all-around eating
  • “One of the best tasting in my garden last year” (comment dated 2021, referring to the 2020 growing season)
  • “Gorgeous fruits”
  • Plants grow up to, maybe over, 6-feet tall
  • Very acidic (which is important if you’re going to be making sauce for meals, or canning), is the consensus view

The Costaluto Fiorentino is an indeterminate variety—meaning it will produce continuously through the season, provided it’s cared for properly.

The size of the plant is such that the Costaluto Fiorentino will not be a good choice for patio growers. But if you have a nice privacy fence, the container itself should not be a problem. You just need to be able to stake or trellis a tomato plant that will be over 6’ tall. These plants (photo below) are at least 15″ tall in 4″ containers, so they need to be transplanted asap or moved into larger containers. And I have many, many more. 🙂

Costaluto Fiorentino Italian Heirloom Tomato Plants in a range of different pot sizes with tomatoes about 15-inches tall or taller Grown by Shine Springs Farm

The seeds I purchased from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange germinated exceptionally well, so I have lots of plants to sell. These will be available on most Saturdays at the Florence Lauderdale Farmers Market, in early June 2021 at the Vestavia Hills Farmers Market, or for direct sale at Shine Springs Farm. Call or text 256-284-2307 for more information on purchases.

Hope to have lots of nice Costaluto Fiorentino tomatoes to sell by early August. I will report back with first hand details on the taste.

Aji Chinchi Amarillo Peppers

Aji Chinchi Amarillo Pepper Plants grown by Shine Springs Farm. Shown here in 3" or 4" cups, the plants are about 8" to 12" in height

2021 is the first year that we’ve grown the Aji Chinchi Amarillo peppers at Shine Springs Farm. So far, we have a nice selection of these pepper plants for sale.

The orange-yellow Aji Chinchi Amarillo pepper is used extensively in Peruvian cuisine. It’s pretty rare here in the US. The taste is described as fruity with medium to medium high heat. According to Southern Exposure Seed Exchange this variety grows to be about 3″ long and is 1/2 to 1″ in diameter, which is smaller than the usual size for Amarillo peppers. By my estimation, the Aji Chinchi should be about the size of our non-irrigated Anaheim peppers or the sweet Melrose Italian frying pepper that I love so much.

We hope to have a large quantity of the Aji Chinchi Amarillo peppers later this summer. It’s usually August before our peppers really get going and the Aji Chinchi Amarillo peppers apparently need a long growing season to get to full ripeness. We will be selling these peppers at the farmstead and the Florence Lauderdale Farmers Market beginning around mid-August.

If you’re a chef in the Shoals area of northwest Alabama, or in Birmingham, and are interested in trying our Aji Chinchi Amarillo peppers please let us know.

Aji Chinchi Amarillo Pepper Plants grown by Shine Springs Farm - The plants are in 3" or 4" pots and are currently about 8" to 12" in height.

In addition to the plants that are now ready for transplanting (shown above in the photo), we also have a few more coming along that will be ready later in June. The current round of plants available for sale (as of June 2, 2021) are in 3″ or 4″ pots and are about 8″ – 12″ in height.

More about the Aji Amarillo peppers here on Mother Earth News: Discovering Aji Amarillo Peppers.

Druzba Tomato

Druzba tomato plants grown by Shine Springs Farm in various size containers. Druzba means friendship in Bulgaria and the Druzba is a Bulgarian heirloom tomato.

Druzba means “friendship” in Bulgarian. The Druzba tomato is a Bulgarian red heirloom slicing tomato—great for sharing summer lunches with friends. The size is about 4”-5” across, which is about the size of a tennis or baseball.

Like many of the heirloom tomatoes I grow, I discovered the Druzba through the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. The SESE describes the tomato as “excellent juicy sweet flavor” and the fruit as resistant to blight, cracking and blossom-end rot, but also with a thin skin. The fruit grows in clusters.

2021 is the first year I’ve grown Druzba tomatoes, so I can’t attest to the taste on a first-hand basis, but the reviews are excellent.

Reviewers on the Dave’s Garden website—including some from central Alabama and Georgia—describe the Druzba as a great tasting tomato that grows well in our region. Sweet and tangy are two adjectives that jumped out at me.

A reviewer on Mary’s Heirloom Seeds says she grew 20 varieties in 2019 and the Druzba was her favorite, taste-wise. I should note that this reviewer is in a far-northern climate, very unlike Alabama, but the reviews on Dave’s Garden from growers in our area are also very positive.

The folks at Burpee, a commercial seed supplier, describes the Druzba as the “most beautiful heirloom tomato.” Reviews of the Druzba tomato on the Burpee website describe the Druzba as tasty, great producer, and “zesty.”

We will have a limited number of Druzba tomato plants for sale at the Florence Lauderdale Farmers Market in early June.

The Druzba is an indeterminate variety.

Vestavia Hills Farmers Market: May 26, 2021

Tomato Plants grown by Shine Springs Farm Photo May 23 2021

Shine Springs Farm will return to the Vestavia Hills Farmers Market on May 26, 2021. The market is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Boy Scout Square, Vestavia Hills, Hwy. 31, next to the Walgreen’s.

Plants available will include tomato plants, pepper plants (hot and mild), squash plants, a few okra plants, and H-19 cucumber plants.

We will have a variety of tomato plants, large and small. Heirloom varieties and “old fashioned” canning varieties.

More details as time permits.

Florence Lauderdale Farmers Market: May 22, 2021

Assortment of pepper plants, large tomato plants and small tomato plants grown by Shine Springs Farm

Shine Springs Farm will be back at the Florence Lauderdale Farmers Market this Saturday, May 22, 2021 with selection of heirloom pepper plants, heirloom tomato plants, canning tomato plants, and a limited supply of yellow squash plants, okra plants, and pickling cucumber plants. More details about the exact varieties for this week’s market are coming Friday, so look for an update Friday evening.

Pepper Plants Available This Week

  • Melrose — Sweet Italian Frying Pepper — Also great raw and fermented. Turns red eventually.
  • Hungarian Sweet Banana Pepper
  • Hot Cayenne Pepper
  • Hot Jalapeño Pepper
  • Jupiter Bell Pepper (sweet) — Starts out green but will turn red
  • Kevin’s Early Orange Bell Pepper (sweet) — Starts out green but will turn orange
  • Jasmyn Risse — African hot pepper
  • Poblano — Bit of heat, great for stuffing
  • Joe Parker Anaheim Pepper
  • Aji Chinchi — Hot Peruvian pepper

Tomato Plants

Large, medium, and smaller. All ready to transplant into your pots or garden. Some of the same varieties as last time, along with new varieties that are popular in the South for canning.

  • Black Krim
  • Rose
  • Mountaineer Delight
  • Pruden’s Purple
  • Heirloom tomatoes from my own saved seed (probably Cherokee Purple or Black Krim, but I didn’t label the envelope when I saved)
  • Rutger’s
  • Marglobe
  • Homestead
  • Costalumo Fiorentino — Italian heirloom for slicing and eating
  • If space allows, I will have 3-4 Mortgage Lifter tomato plants

More details about these varieties available on our Tomato Page.


I will have a few small pots of Clemson Spineless okra plants available. The plants are small right now, so will need to leave in pots for about a week before transplanting.

Yellow Squash

I have about 10 containers of yellow straightneck squash and about 4 containers of yellow crookneck squash ready.

Cucumber Plants

I believe (as of Thursday night) I will have about 6-8 containers of H-19 Little Leaf cucumber plants ready for sale. The H-19 is a pickling size but is amazing sliced by itself or added to any type of salad. No need to “pickle” it. Great for growing in gardens, raised beds, or pots. The small size cucumbers make it ideal for trellising. The “little leaf” feature makes it easy to see the cucumbers.

May 19, 2021 – Vestavia Hills Farmers Market

Vestavia Hills Farmers Market Sign

Shine Springs Farm will make its first appearance at the Vestavia Hills Farmers Market on Wednesday, May 19, 2021. The market will be open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. We’ll be in Booth 23, near the far end from the entrance on the West side (opposite of Molton Street).

Located at 741 Montgomery Highway, Vestavia Hills. This location is also known as Scout Square–where the Boy Scouts sell Christmas trees. It’s one block from Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church.

What We’ll Be Selling May 19

Tomato Plants

Tomato Plant Varieties Available Today

  • Pruden’s Purple
  • Black Krim
  • Black Prince
  • Mountaineer Delight
  • Mountain Princess
  • Costalumo Fiorentino
  • Rose
  • Druzba
  • Moskvich

Pepper Plants

  • Jasymn Risse (African – Hot)
  • Melrose (Italian sweet frying pepper)
  • Jupiter Bell
  • Possibly a few other sweet varieties)

Florence Lauderdale Farmers Market – May 8, 2021

Heirloom tomato plants in small pots inside boxes

We have a booth reserved at the Florence Lauderdale Farmers Market for May 8, 2021, where Sheree will be selling heirloom tomato plants. See below for listing of varieties available this week. Prices range from $3 to $5 per plant depending on the size of pot and how many transplants.

This week’s selection are grown from certified organic seed in a custom potting mix blend that Sheree mixes in wheelbarrow using a combination of Kellogg OMRI-listed potting mix, Black Cow cow manure, mushroom compost, a bit of peat moss (OMRI-listed supplier), a scoop or two of vermiculite, and a bit of Fox Farm Ocean’s Forest.

The tomato plants in smallest pots are $3 each (these are mainly 3-1/2″ to 4″ pots) and have been transplanted at least once from the starter trays.

Next size up is $4 each. Tomatoes in the largest containers are $5 each.

Heirloom tomato plants (large quantity) in small and medium sized pots, with pots sitting inside boxes Shine Springs Farm

Example of largest container tomatoes that we sell for $5 each:

Heirloom tomato plants in pots

Tomato Plant Varieties Available Week of May 8, 2021

  • Black Krim
  • Black Prince
  • Mountaineer Delight
  • Mountain Princess
  • Rose (both Rose de Berne and Amish Rose, unfortunately, I didn’t label distinction when planting trays)
  • Pruden’s Purple
  • Mortgage Lifter (4 plants only)
  • Purple Bumble (cherry style, technically not an “heirloom”)
  • Heirloom from my saved seeds (not labeled when I saved seeds a few years ago, just noted “heirloom.” Would likely be either Cherokee Purple or Black Krim, based on fact that I saved seeds and what I was growing at the time)
  • I’ll also have one tray (~ 14 plants) of an assortment of pepper plants, also grown from certified organic seed. More pepper plants ready in a week or two.

Learn more about these heirloom tomato varieties on our Tomatoes page.

Come Visit Us in Florence – !!

The Florence Lauderdale Farmers Market takes place at the Old Fairgrounds just off Cox Creek Parkway at 451 Fairgrounds Road, Florence, AL 35630.

Sweet and Mild Pepper Varieties for 2021

This post describes the sweet and mild peppers we’re growing for 2021. This category includes bell peppers, banana peppers, and other types of non-hot peppers.

Sweet Banana Peppers

Early Hungarian Sweet Banana

This is the sweet banana variety I’ve grown every year since Summer 2013. Very productive—especially in the Fall season. I love the taste. This is my #1 choice for lacto-fermentation for salad pickles year round.

“70 days. (pale green > yellow > orange > crimson red) [1941, AAS Winner.] Heavy yields of attractive, banana- shaped peppers, 6 x 1½ in. Eaten at any ripeness stage, but sweetest when red. Great for colorful salads, frying, and freezing. 42 in. plants. Excellent choice for Mid-Atlantic region.” Southern Exposure Seed Exchange website: https://www.southernexposure.com/products/sweet-banana-long-sweet-hungarian-sweet-pepper/

Seed Source: Southern Exposure Seed Exchange – USDA Organic

Bell Peppers

Corona Sweet Bell Pepper

“68 days. (green > golden orange) [Dutch variety, 1991] Fancy, flavorful, very sweet bell pepper often featured in gourmet produce markets (except in 2020, we didn’t sell many bulk size packets of these last year, growers most likely didn’t want to make display signs for Corona peppers…). 3½ in. fruits are 3- to 4-lobed, averaging 6-7 oz. Fruit stem separates easily from plant for trouble-free harvest. Choice variety for salad use. Good foliage cover of fruits. 4 ft. plants. Mosaic resistant.” Southern Exposure Seed Exchange website: https://www.southernexposure.com/products/corona-sweet-bell-pepper/

Jupiter Sweet Bell Pepper

“75 days. (green > red) One of the largest and best sweet bell peppers. Sturdy 3-5 ft. plants have an excellent canopy of dark green leaves to protect the high yields of 4 in. fruits. Excellent drought resistance. Great for stuffing.” Southern Exposure Seed Exchange website: https://www.southernexposure.com/products/jupiter-sweet-bell-pepper/

Kevin’s Early Orange Bell Pepper

Seed pack for Kevin's Early Orange Bell Pepper from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

“…(Green > orange) Medium, thick-walled bells, 3 x 3-1/2”. The same fine taste as Orange Bell but 2 weeks earlier and with slightly improved yields. Good foliage cover.” From Seed Pack for 2020.

Seed Source: Southern Exposure Seed Exchange – USDA Organic

Napoleon Sweet Bell Pepper

“76 days. (green > red) 6-7 in. long bells with sweet, mild flavor. Very productive, tasty thick fleshed fruit can be used fresh, dried or for frying.” Southern Exposure Seed Exchange website: https://www.southernexposure.com/products/napoleon-sweet-sweet-bell-pepper/

Purple Beauty Sweet Bell Pepper

Available in ~2nd week of June

“80 days. (green > purple > deep red) On their way to deep red, the peppers stop and linger at a dark purple color (lime green inside) that’s lovely in salads. Medium-sized bells, 3 x 3 in., thick flesh, good foliage cover. 3 ft. tall, mosaic resistant plants.” Southern Exposure Seed Exchange website: https://www.southernexposure.com/products/purple-beauty-sweet-bell-pepper/

Ashe County Pimiento Sweet Pepper

Note: These won’t be available until mid-June

“52 days. (green > red) [Revived by NC seed saver Rob Danford.] One of the few peppers that reliably produces well in the short Smoky Mountain growing season (150 days or less). An incredibly sweet, bright red, thick-fleshed pimento pepper, 4 x 1½ in. Great raw, as well as for cooking, roasting, and canning. Small (24-30 in.) plants may be closely spaced (18 in. apart).” Southern Exposure Seed Exchange website: https://www.southernexposure.com/products/ashe-county-pimento-sweet-pepper/

Melrose Sweet Italian Pepper

This is one of my favorite peppers, if not THE favorite. I fry them, pickle them in brine, add to zucchini relish, and use them in salads and stir-fries.

“(green > red) 70 days. [Heirloom Italian frying pepper discovered in Melrose Park, IL.] Productive plants full of 2 x 4 in. peppers that turn brilliant red early. Very sweet flavor, rich and full-bodied. Excellent for salads, roasting, and stir- frying.” Southern Exposure Seed Exchange: https://www.southernexposure.com/products/melrose-sweet-pepper/