Rudy and Jan are proud of the quality of their products; each step in their process is designed to give a quality finished product.
The berries are not harvested until ninety nine percent of the berries on the tree are a deep purple to black in colour, with this methad Rudy has found that he losses some berries that fall to the ground but it allows for easy removal of the berry from the tree as when the pepperberry is black and ripe it gives very little resistance to allow it to be removed from the tree.
Only ripe pepperberries which are black in colour are picked, the unripe berries are red in colour and have a much milder taste and aroma are tried to be left on the tree, but if they do come away while picking the unripened berries are removed in the hand sorting process.
Once picked the ripe berry's stooks are removed from the berry, and then inspected for any blemishs or imperfections, this procedure is slow as it is done by hand, then the berries are washed.
Once sorted, inspected and washed the berries are then placed in the drying trays in the sun or if the weather is bad in the drying shed, where they will spend up to five months till the berries skin is hard and wrinkled, depending on weather conditions.
The berries are then sorted into their sizes and inspected again for any imperfections that may have accrued while drying in the trays. The smaller berries will be sold as whole pepperberries while the larger ones will be placed through a hand operated peppermill into lightly cracked, medium cracked or ground into a fine powder then weighted, packaged and labelled.
The leaves are collected from the best root stock, washed and hand sorted for any blemishs or imperfections, then placed in drying racks for up to 4 months, depending on weather conditions.
Once the leaves are dried they are checked once more then weighted, packed and labeled
(above left) Pepperleaf in drying racks, (with mouse over) more detail. (above right) pepperberries in drying racks (with mouse over) more detail..
The pepper leaf is inspected and given the same treatment but has to be put through the hand operated mill three times to get the texture required.