Devoted, devout, devoured; Devon Chilli Man, his team and his spectrum-tickling range of sauces, respectively, have Devon-itely got it going on – and all of it in AutoPot Watering Systems! Here we go with a fresh blast of tidbits and pics from custard country.
For the uninitiated, Devon Chilli Man, Cliff Hyslop et al, cultivate capsicums for UK restaurants, proprietary sauces and other sauce producers. They grow exclusively using the AutoPot XL System which provides levels of size and adjustability invaluable to growing in the Devon microclimate.
In Devon the season is longer than elsewhere in the UK but can be subject to variations typical to temperate climes. Plants may require more or less space to develop depending on the prevailing conditions – space the XL amply provides. As irrigation in an AutoPot Watering System is plant controlled there is no need for human intervention when conditions vary – vastly reducing the labour involved in plant management. This is crucial for producers of all sizes given the tightness of margins and concomitant pressures under which growers operate.
Cliff has over 1000 plants of mixed variety underway at present, two-per-pot, in a 550XL Pot system. For growing media Cliff prefers CANNA substrates, perfectly complimented by CANNA nutrients. Very soft water in the Devon area is an absolute blessing, being as it is kinder to the plants.
All Cliff’s plants are destined to bear the chillies which power or accent his sauces. Currently trending (yes that’s right kids! #! #! #!) in Devon Chilli Man (DCM’s) greenhouses are BTR (Butch T Reaper) and Catarina chilli peppers. The BTRs are Butch T Scorpion crossed with a Carolina Reaper. Sure, in quantity these might have with predictably arsonous consequences but, as with most things, in moderation there’s a gorgeous, nuanced flavour waiting to be revealed. The Catarinas are grown for Cliff’s friends at La Choza Mexican in Brighton from authentic seeds sourced in Mexico. In their way the Catarinas exemplify the journey on which many growers go. It’s not just about the plants, for years Cliff’s obsession has involved following labyrinthine paths, leading all over the world, in order to obtain rare or unadulterated seeds from trusted sources.
Whilst the Catarinas are set for pastures Brighton the BTR will grace the ‘buds of spice lovers far and wide in Cliff’s latest sauce; Cannabalistic, the name a tribute to Cliff’s partnership with CANNA. This audacious young thing is a sweet, sweet mango hot sauce with Indian fruit deliciously complimenting the BTR. Cliff grows different varieties for each of his Devonchilliman products, meaning his greenhouses are never less than cosmopolitan when it comes to flavours.
And what flavours! What could be fancier than Aji Limon Chillies for the subtly citrus, garlic accented, chicken and fish blessing Aji Limon Sambal? What indeed? How about West Indian Yellow Habaneros for DCM’s Oak Matured Chilli & Magnolia Apple Cyder Vinegar– ft. Ventons Devon Cyder. Morugas and Nagas maraud and naga the unsuspecting greenhouse visitor before being (scarcely) tamed in DCM’s Death at the Crimson Altar, now portable. Carolina Reapers? Scarcely will you have seen them so well executed. These may be increasingly well-known but the use to which they are turned is unique. DCM’s 33% pure Reaper Sambal is produced to tippy-top secret recipe from great mate Bram Bonnewel in Holland.
Whilst the economics of being a grower-producer are tough the unmistakeable quality and perceptibly authentic provenance of his products gives Cliff a competitive edge in the artisan produce marketplace. Cliff’s social media engagement also benefits him hugely by shining a light on growing and product development. The fidelity of his produce together with his profile means that Cliff is well-in catering events that attract respected horticulturalists and an honourable cross section of society – not the two are mutually exclusive!
Year-round you can catch Cliff at a swathe of horticultural, agricultural and food fairs and private do’s. Hob nob with HRH The Prince of Wales or Damon Albarn, why not? Delighted to say Cliff has developed some cracking AutoPot co-branding to generously ensure we get a lil’ mention anytime admiring customers enjoy his delicious output. All Devon Chilli Man sauces are grown with love in AutoPot Watering Systems, a fact of which we’re immensely proud.