Posted September 25, 2012 by Scott Roberts in Bloggers

Official Open Fields 2012 Details

Open Fields is back!At a secret location, somewhere in Indiana, a dedicated group of chileheads will gather for what has been best described as a “Woodstock for ChileHeads”. In late September, folks with a love of the outdoors, spicy food, chile peppers, and good company, will gather in a rented farm field – rain or shine – and enjoy a weekend of socializing while strolling amongst 1,000 chile pepper plants. And, it is 100% totally FREE. For those unfamiliar with the event known as “Open Fields”, a little bit of history…..

Open Fields started as a means for me to try and let others pick what they could from my fields after the plants had been frosted. Once the chiles have been nipped, there is a very limited window of “salvageability” to them before they became mush. Rather than them go to waste, I threw the fields open to one and all to help themselves. People could pick and take as much as they wanted (free) from as many as 50,000 chiles, mostly Red Savina� Habanero. As it was done on short notice (never could trust those weather forecasters to be accurate!) very few people showed up the first few years. The event then “morphed” into a fixed date based upon when I thought I’d harvested enough chiles to see the business through to the next year. This allowed people to actually plan to attend and the number showing up changed dramatically. Some years however, I had to announce harvest restrictions on particular varieties owing to the vagaries of farming. I didn’t have enough for what I needed so there were a few years of “pick this, not that”. Over the years, the popularity of the event continued to grow- hard to beat “free” after all – and was even featured on the Food Network a couple of times as well as several other shows. The event was required to evolve again. Starting somewhere around 2003, I decided to plant a field that was strictly for the event- no harvest restrictions, no limits, no nothing. In addition, the date was announced far in advance of the event allowing people to attend from quite a distance. It is truly amazing the distance that some folks have travelled to hang out in a farm field in Central Indiana for a weekend with fellow chileheads! There’ve been people from well over 35 States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, The Netherlands, England, & Argentina. They all come to either primitive camp in the fields or stay in the nearest hotel 20 miles away. Truly amazing! Most everyone comes prepared to cook “camp food” and share with anyone who walks by and there are some folks who can cook some amazing things with very few modern conveniences! In 2006, after the lunacy that was/is, an auction was added on Saturday afternoon that benefited the charity. Several overly generous chileheads donate a vast amount of gift baskets, chile trinkets, sauces, pepper plants, and you name it, that are raffled off…

Copyright 2012

Scott Roberts