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I had an amazing assignment recently for Edible San Francisco Magazine that sent me to a pepper farm in East Palo Alto and a Palace in San Francisco.

You would have never guessed there was a farm behind this modest, suburban East Palo Alto neighborhood, a block behind Ikea! David Winsberg at Happy Quail Farms has a huge greenhouse growing many varieties of peppers behind his home (many of which are sold to restaurants nation-wide), and a couple other plots in his neighbors’ backyards nearby. The housing lots in that neighborhood were originally subdivided into one-acre parcels, leaving several long-time tenants with a lot of extra land. David and his family have been there long enough that they have made friends with neighbors who allow them to grow peppers on the parts of the unused property. 

David took me through a neighbor’s gate, behind her house and into yet another hidden farm plot where he grows peppers for chef Manny Torres-Gimenez's restaurant, The Palace, in San Francisco. Manny grew up in Venezuela cooking with Aji Dulce peppers which are surprisingly hard to find (or grow!) in California. David has mastered the technique and now produces them specially for Manny.

David picked these Aji Dulce peppers and I took them (that same afternoon) to Manny at The Palace where he cooked up this amazing dish called “What Came First? : Quail Three Ways”. I can’t wait to go back and dine at The Palace!

By Erin Gleeson for Edible SF

Also from this series:

*Namu Farm to Namu Table (Korean comfort food sourced by a farmer named Kristyn near Oakland)

*Farm to Rich Table (Annabelle, a farmer in Bolinas, CA, grows chicory for Rich Table restaurant in SF)