Tlaola Serrano Chili Pepper

Mexico

Vegetables and vegetable preserves

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Tlaola Serrano Chili Pepper

The chili pepper (Capsicum annuum) was one of the first plants to be domesticated in Mesoamerica, and is now one of Mexico’s most popular products. The Nahua community in Tlaola, a town in the state of Puebla at an altitude of around 1,000 meters on the slopes of the Sierra Norte, has traditionally cultivated a native pepper called serrano, meaning “of the mountain.” However, interest in this product has been steadily declining over the last century due to its low profitability, the predominant role of intermediaries and the poor participation of women in commercialization activities.

Even though this is an agricultural area, over 50% of the population does not own land, instead working on land owned by others. And the land is always owned by men.

But for some years now a group of Tlaola women has been developing agroecological cultivation in order to safeguard and add value to the serrano chili. The pepper is grown on terraces—necessary given the steepness of the mountainous slopes around Tlaola—and a greenhouse is used to grow the seedlings. The group has created a “social and solidarity economy enterprise” that produces artisanal condiments using sun-dried serrano peppers.

The serrano chili is small (5 to 7 centimeters long once ripe), green in color and oblong and pointed in shape. The seedlings, cultivated from October in the greenhouse, are planted out in the fields between December and January. The manual harvest starts in April and takes place in phases. Initially the green chilies are harvested for immediate sale, while a smaller number are left on the plant until June. The peppers turn red, and after they are picked, they are dried in the sun, toasted and used for either family consumption or the production of condiments. Extremely spicy and with a lovely smoky flavor, they are used to season meat, sauces, salads and savory snacks.

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The Presidium was started as part of the project “Slow Food and the Terra Madre Net- work in Mexico: actions and prospects in the fight against rural poverty and inequality through promotion and giving value to the local food heritage.” The Presidium has been made possible thanks to the Mopampa (“for you” in the Nahuatl language) social and solidarity economy enterprise, made up of indigenous Nahua women who grow the serrano pepper using agroecological techniques, and then process it into different types of sauces. At the moment, the producers are concentrating on agroeco- logical production, seed selection and the formation of partnerships with other busi- nesses and social organizations. The objective over the next two years is to strengthen the commercial strategy for Mopampa’s products. To this end, the Presidium wants to carry out a market study, obtain a bar code for the products, produce communication materials and improve the producers’ facilities.

Production area
Tlaola municipality, Puebla state

Presidium supported by
Ford Foundation

In collaboration with
Comida Lenta A.C.
Slow Food Tlaola Kukuk
13 indigenous Nahua women united in the Mopampa social and solidarity economy enterprise
Presidium Coordinator
Dalí Nolasco Cruz
Tel. +52 222 4243722
dalinolascocruz@yahoo.com.mx|
The Presidium was started as part of the project “Slow Food and the Terra Madre Net- work in Mexico: actions and prospects in the fight against rural poverty and inequality through promotion and giving value to the local food heritage.” The Presidium has been made possible thanks to the Mopampa (“for you” in the Nahuatl language) social and solidarity economy enterprise, made up of indigenous Nahua women who grow the serrano pepper using agroecological techniques, and then process it into different types of sauces. At the moment, the producers are concentrating on agroeco- logical production, seed selection and the formation of partnerships with other busi- nesses and social organizations. The objective over the next two years is to strengthen the commercial strategy for Mopampa’s products. To this end, the Presidium wants to carry out a market study, obtain a bar code for the products, produce communication materials and improve the producers’ facilities.

Production area
Tlaola municipality, Puebla state

Presidium supported by
Ford Foundation

In collaboration with
Comida Lenta A.C.
Slow Food Tlaola Kukuk
13 indigenous Nahua women united in the Mopampa social and solidarity economy enterprise
Presidium Coordinator
Dalí Nolasco Cruz
Tel. +52 222 4243722
dalinolascocruz@yahoo.com.mx|