Escape to the Country
Explore A Former Royal Air Force Station That Has Transformed Into Britain's Largest Pepper Farm!
Take a virtual tour of Tangmere Airfield Nurseries, where you will learn the inside scoop on what it takes to grow bell peppers and all the wonderful things bell peppers can do for you!
Tangmere Airfield Nurseries has one of the most interesting histories in all of West Sussex. This location was first opened as a royal air force station during World War I, but eventually ceased operations in 1970. The land was purposeless until 18 years later, when it was reborn as Tangmere Airfield Nurseries, a 75 acre pepper farm that grows around 65 million peppers each year. The property is so large, the staff that keep the farm up and running have to travel on bicycles! On this episode of “Escape to the Country,” we are invited to take a tour of this vast pepper farm and learn how they produce arguably the best bell peppers in England!
While exploring the greenhouses and research center at Tangmere Airfield Nurseries, our host learns that making the perfect bell pepper is a more intricate process than you’d initially expect. The bell peppers have to be monitored throughout their life cycle to ensure they are growing correctly, are safely protected from pests, and are picked at just the right time to have the perfect flavor. For example, green peppers are tangy while orange bell peppers tend to be sweet. We also learned how researchers on the farm are constantly working to hone the ideal method for growing the perfect bell pepper every time.
However, there is much more to bell peppers than simply tasting delicious and adding flavor to many recipes. The bell peppers, like the ones grown at Tangmere Airfield Nurseries, are packed with nutrients and health benefits. As we learned in the above clip, bell peppers are low in fat and cholesterol, which is important for keeping our hearts healthy. They are also packed with necessary vitamins, such as Vitamin K that promotes healing and proper blood clotting, and Vitamin B6 that reduces feelings of fatigue. But the health benefits of bell peppers don’t stop there!
As you know, bell peppers come in a variety of flavors and colors, and are versatile enough to be incorporated into recipes or served in a multitude of different ways. Red peppers are generally deemed to be most nutritious because they have been growing on the vine longer than any other color, but consuming any type of bell pepper will enhance your health. In addition to the vitamins mentioned in the above clip, bell peppers are a great source of vitamins A and C. Vitamin A supports good vision and a healthy immune system, while Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant. Bell peppers also contain potassium, folic acid, and fiber, all of which are appreciated by the human body.
There are also some who theorize that eating bell peppers can promote weight loss. We imagine this is true if bell peppers are consumed in moderation as part of a healthy diet and exercise program. That said, spicier peppers contain capsaicin, which has been shown to boost metabolism and help control the appetite. Sweeter peppers contain dihydrocapsiate (DCT), which seems to behave similarly to capsaicin without setting your mouth on fire. Although the research isn’t entirely clear, black peppers contain piperine. Preliminary studies show that piperine can prevent new fat cells from forming, but that isn’t certain yet. Black pepper is calorie-free and won’t raise your blood pressure, so at the very least if it doesn't help you lose weight it won’t hurt you if you choose to use it as a garnish.