Why Doesn’t Anyone Grow Pimento Pepper?
Q: I read that pimento peppers saved Georgia farmers from the boll weevil and that many farms were located near Griffin. Our state was once the “Pimento Pepper Capitol of the World”! Why does no one grow them anymore?
A: The pimento pepper story in Georgia began in 1911 with a Spalding County farmer who planted Spanish pimento seed. Once he developed a way to easily remove the pepper skin, the Pomona Products Company was formed to market the sweet peppers.
By 1929, 7000 acres of pimentos were cultivated in the counties around Griffin. At one time there were 20 pepper processing plants.
By 1950, production peaked but farmers turned away from pimento peppers because they were so labor-intensive to grow and so hard to sell with much profit. I have a collection of fact sheets about the agricultural heritage of Georgia, including watermelons, muscadines, peanuts, and mules (!) at bit.ly/GAheritage.