We just received the newest harvest of our Vietnamese Black Peppercorns, and are celebrating this new shipment with a fresh new name. The former name, "Ea Sar," refers to the region where the farm growing these fruity peppercorns is located, but we wanted a name that spoke more to the biodynamic agricultural practices of our partner farmers, Dūng and Thanh.
To honor the regenerative farming they practice on their shade-grown coffee farm, we've decided to name this new harvest Robusta Black Peppercorns. The peppercorn vines are a companion crop to the Robusta coffee plants, providing shade for the coffee.
These fabulous black peppercorns are grown using organic practices and harvested only when the peppercorns are ripe. This new harvest has the same fruity, herbaceous, and some might say "robust" flavor that first captivated us!
- Origin: Ea Sar, Vietnam
Aliases: Black peppercorns
- Process: Sun-dried
- Ingredients: Black peppercorns, organically grown (Piper nigrum v. Vĩnh Linh and Trâu Xanh)
- Tasting notes: Fresh Herbs • Dried Fruit • Tropical Heat
- You know what to do: grind over everything
- Add to tomato sauces, braises, beans, soups and stocks
- Try pairing a little ground peppercorn with fresh fruit
- Pairs well with: Smoked Pimenton Paprika
Peppercorns grow on vines in bunches like grapes. The red peppercorns are ripe, and the red fruit has a mild, sweet flavour. Allowing the peppercorns to ripen on the vine is tricky - peppercorns on the same vine ripen at different rates, and the peppercorns become a bigger target for birds and can mould as they ripen. However, when a skilled farmer can pull this off, the payoff is a warm, fiery peppercorn. These are black peppercorns, but they are fully ripened on the vine into a complete expression of their sweet, savoury, fiery flavour.
The Robusta Black Peppercorns are a combination of two heirloom pepper varieties, Vĩnh Linh (grown by Dūng) and Trâu Xanh (grown by Thanh). Together, the two types of sun-dried peppercorns hit a perfect balance of fragrance and flavour.
Meet the Farmers: Meet Dūng (left) and Thanh. We spent a couple of days on their farm, helping with the pepper harvest and learning about their biodynamic, regenerative agricultural practices. They're young (Dūng is 23 and Thanh is 30) and they started working together in 2013, with the goal of growing pepper better (and growing better pepper) than their neighbours. Pretty much every other farmer in the region uses chemical pesticides and fertilisers to maximize yields, but Dūng and Thanh believe in using organic growing practices, intercropping with coffee and chili pepper plants, grazing chickens and ducks, and using nitrogen-fixing trees to support their pepper vines.
Burlap & Barrel work with farmers like them, helping connect them with higher-value markets and customers who will appreciate the thoughtfulness and care with which they're growing their peppercorns.