IT ALL STARTED IN 2014 ...
I Ingemar Persson, together with my partner Dariya Hang and my business companion Jörgen Carlsson, found ourselves in Siem Reap, Cambodia in 2014. My partners brother Keopiseth Hang had a close friend who wanted to show us his pepper farm.
By that time, neither one of us knew anything about pepper or the cultivation of pepper, but curiousity made us go for a visit. On site, we were impressed by the well planned pepperfarm and irrigation facilities. In a country where much is still very primitive, here he had a really well planned and fuctional pepperfarm.
The farmer told us that in Cambodia they are very proud of there pepper and that Cambodian pepper by many is considered to be the best pepper in the world. He sad that most of there pepper where being sold to neighboring countries, even though these countries also grow pepper, simply because Cambodian pepper is considered to have a more premium quality.
He also explained the high quality of Cambodian peppers, partly had to do with the very special fertile red soil witch is found in some areas of Cambodia, partly by the kind of pepperplants used. Another factor the fact that they still use traditionel farming methods and therefore did not use neither chemical pesticides or artificial fertilizer.
CAMBODIAN PEPPER HISTORY
Pepper has been cultivated in Cambodia for more than a thousand years. The one who first documented it was the Chinese Envoy, Zhou Daguan during his visit to Angkor (Siem Reap) in 1296. In the book Zhenla fengtu ji, or A Record of Cambodia: A Land and Its People, he wrote,
“Pepper is occasionally found. It grows twisted around the stems of the rattan, fastening on like a hop vine”.
The region of Angkor, the centre of the historic Khmer empire at that time, was the first south Asian region with a strong Indian influence witch can explain that pepper found it´s way to Cambodia.
Over a long period of time the pepper thrive in Cambodia. In the19th century the French colonization of Indochina caused the pepper to become known in the west and “pepper fever” broke out in France. Pepper from the Kampot region became one of the most important spices in French cuisine.
The popularity remained high until the 1960s, when the pepper industry in Cambodia ceased during the Vietnam war and during destructive regime of the Red Khmer.
However, the cultivation was resumed seriously at the end of 1990. The plantations were rescued by the Pol Pot era survivors. Gourmet peppers from Cambodia once again have
a great demand, and have now been recognized as the best pepper in the world especially after the Kampot pepper was awarded GI status in 2009.
In January in 2015 we bought our first 5 hectares in the area of Areng. We then had an idea to try to finance another 10 hectares, including the operation of this, by the help of some friends in Sweden.
We immediately started land preparations with goal of start planting by the summer of 2016. In April the same year, we then began step 2. The idea was to start up 4 new projects of in total 25 hectares. This was the embryo that was to become the Best Pepper Company we see today.
Best Pepper AB is currently running its own pepper cultivation projects in the Areng area in Cambodia. Our pepper is grown with traditional cultivation methods, witch means, completely free of chemical pesticides or artificial fertilizer, they way that always cultivated pepper in Cambodia.
Our own pepper has a strong and delicate aroma. The taste can vary from intense spicy to mildly sweet, spreading elements of flowers, eucalyptus and mint. The pepper fits all types of dishes and has a long and profound effect. This is good news for all of us who likes to cook high quality premium spices.
With our own pepper cultivation projects, refinement and packaging facilities, combiend with green thinking, we control the entire supply chain from the earth to your plate. We can therefore proudly say that we can deliver the best possible pepper to the consumers. We simply want to contribute to the making of good food wherever it is served in the world.
As consumers today makes conscious choices, and there by making the world a little bit better, this is of cause something we also want to contribute to.
Coming to Cambodia for many years we knew, right from the start, that if we where to start a business in Cambodia we wanted to give back to the community in the area we were going to be active in.
Indeed, our goal is to deliver the best possible quality pepper to enhanced food taste experiences, but at the same time we also wanted to do good. For that reason we started Peppercare.
Pepper Care is our non-profit organisation that works with social improvement projects in Cambodia, in the region where we work and have our perpperfarms.
Through Pepper Care we have the ability to help the locals, including our employees and their families, with a stable and positive social development.
Besides making sure that our employees have good working and living conditions, fare salaries and medical help, we also frequently evaluate the current needs of schools, medical care, services, etc. and then perform tailormade measures where needed. 4% of your purchase is donated to Pepper care.
Spices, including pepper, are one of the world’s largest com-
modities. Shipping spices from one side of the world to the other undoubtedly has a climate impact, so also the shipping
We therefore have a responsibility, not only for this gene-
ration, but also for coming generations. Everything we do today will affect the world our children live in tomorrow.
In order to try to reduce our environmental impact, we have made a number of active choices. These are as follows:
- We ship our entire harvest in one shipload, in order
to minimize our climate footprint.
- Well in Sweden we ship our pepper by environmental ceritied trains, also in order to reduce our climate footprint.
- We ensure that our business in Cambodia does not contribute to a negative environmental impact.
- For example, we only grow peppers on already cultivated farmland and thus do not contribute to deforestation.
- We also ensure that all residues of our Cambodian operations are handled responsibly and do not end up