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Shishito pepper titillates the tastebuds

A love of food and desire to be exploratory lead Noah Robbins to create his new company, Ark Foods, one year ago. Based in Brooklyn, NY, Ark Foods is focusing its energy on growing the shishito pepper, which has garnered a strong reputation in eateries around the country.

“I am always looking for different vegetables and discovered them at a restaurant in New York,” Robbins, the company’s chief executive officer, told The Produce News.

Ark Foods is currently growing shishito peppers in Upstate New York, Long Island and Florida. Gourmet’s Finest, headquartered in Avondale, PA, has been selected by Ark Foods as the sole distributor for the shishito.

The very name of the pepper, which is small and finger length, conjures up the mystery and romance of the Far East. Shishito pays homage to the fact that the tip of the pepper resembles a lion’s head.

When asked about the pepper’s flavor, he replied, “It’s a bit of a surprise. It’s a mild pepper, a two out of 10 generally. But one in 10 is spicy.”

The pepper is very versatile and can be eaten fresh or used in recipes.

“It has a thin wall and really soaks up the flavor,” Robbins said. “There are a ton of ways to use it.”

He isn’t kidding. Some of the bolder uses of the shishito use it as an ingredient in cupcakes and cocktails.

More information about the company, the shishito pepper and recipe suggestions can be found at www.arkfoods.org.

Robbins said Ark Foods plans to add other new and exciting items to its product line in the near future.