Posted July 12, 2006 by Nick Lindauer in Hot Events

Open Fields 2006

The following information concerns an annual event that is widely known in the ChileHead and MSN Rogue circles. It is called “Open Fields” and happens every fall, most often in late September. As many folks are making September travel plans, Nick thought this might be of interest to several of you to try and include in your plans. This event has been featured on the Food Network several times (Roker on the Road, Eat the Heat, Extreme Cuisine, Food 911, etc) and is held at a ‘secret location somewhere in Central Indiana’. The dates for this years event are the 23rd & 24th of
September- the weekend after the Houston Hot Sauce Festival. Several folks will be arriving early and staying later though so no big deal a day or two either way.

While it has received media coverage, the information you obtain from me concerning directions, location, where abouts, and dates, MAY NOT be posted in open forum, nor sent to anyone else without express permission. “Why”
will be made clear further on. Please respect this.

Open Fields is my annual gift to the chilehead community where I throw open one of my chile fields for one and all to come and help themselves. Pick to your hearts’ content, take what you will, share what you want. There will be about 6,500 chile pepper plants, representing about 45 varieties in the open field this year. Among them are LOTS of obscure types for us chile pepper geeks, as well as 5 or 6 kinds of habanero, fatalii, ornamentals, rocotos, several New Mex and other milder types. They are planted on just about an acre of rented ground, on a much larger farm, somewhere to the south of Indianapolis.

There is NO COST involved beyond what it takes for you to get here and stay. Hotels can be found within an easy 1/2 hour drive of the fields and many, many folks choose to do primitive camping in the fields and amongst the trees for the weekend. This is an entirely FREE event- a chance to chat about all things chile pepper related in a relaxed and totally informal atmosphere with no time constraints. Several recognizable manufacturers can usually be found there, though NOT in ‘vendor mode’. No sales are permitted as this is a strictly non-commercial event. Over the years I’ve had folks from New Zealand, The Netherlands, England, Australia, Denmark, Canada, as well as all 50 states attend. There might be as many as 150-200 people ‘stop in’ at some point of the weekend, with probably 40 or 50 camping in the fields.

The best way to think of it would be a ChileHeads Woodstock. There is food galore as most folks cook up stuff with chiles straight out of the field, including fire roasted salsa, roasted chiles and corn, chili con carne, chile ice cream, and all manner of spicy (and not so spicy) foods. There are LOTS of homemade sauces to try and more than a few are cooked and bottled right there in the fields. Several folks bring instruments and there is usually a lively jam session around the bonfire under the stars.
Once the pepper infused tequilla (or vodka) makes a pass or two the music gets better 😉 Alcohol is not forbidden but it is expected to be in moderation.

It’s Indiana in late fall so we’ve had everything from 35 F with mixed rain & snow with 30 mph winds, to 85 F hot & sunny. Sometimes both on the same weekend 🙂 If it rains, it WILL be muddy and this is a rain or shine event.

I only rent the ground and there are lots of things there other than chiles. My landlord sets the ‘no publicity’ rule as these fields are in a rather remote and unsupervised location. He doesn’t tolerate folks ‘stopping by’ at any other time & has had problems in the past with folks (non-chileheads) raiding his property. Attendance is by invitation only, but everyone is invited 😉 Come one, come all but ask first as I must personally vouch for everyone who attends.

To attend: you must e-mail me jim@wildpepper com in late August or early September when I will send out the full rules, regs, directions, and info.
Please put “Open Fields” in the subject header to clear the spam filter.

-Jim C
Mild to Wild(R)

Nick Lindauer

The Original Hot Sauce Blog