Chili peppers, the berry-fruit of the capsicum plant, originated in modern-day Bolivia and is one of the oldest cultivated crops in the Americas—many cultivars have spread across the world. Chili peppers are part of the nightshade family, including other species such as tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and tobacco. Hawaiʻi has two types of chili peppers: the Hawaiian chili pepper and the Waialua chili pepper. The Hawaiian chili pepper is small and spicy, ranging between 50,000 and 70,000 on the Scoville scale. The Waialua chili pepper is shaped like a jalapeño but is much sweeter and matures to a beautiful vibrant red color.
While not readily available in supermarkets, Hawaiian chili peppers can be found at local farmers markets throughout Hawai‘i, from a befriended local, or here at The Farm at Hōkūala!