Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin may not be a diehard fan of the spicy group, but he headed north for Svalbard, Norway, as part of its entourage.
No, not the funk-rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, though that would make an interesting story of a different variety.
Cardin joined six congressional colleagues to deliver the seeds of American-grown chili peppers — the kind that spice up food, not concert stages — to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Managed and run by the Global Crop Diversity Trust, the vault collects and safeguards the seeds from more than 525,000 crop varieties. It is the largest seed collection anywhere in the world.
The U.S. delegation added to the giant collection with seeds from 537 varieties of 13 North American crops, including those hot little numbers, the chili peppers.
-Safely stashed in the doomsday vault are a diversity of seeds from New Mexico’s most well-known food group: Wenk’s Yellow Hots, a pepper that starts out yellow and hot and cools somewhat to red and medium-hot; Pico de Gallo or Rooster’s Beak, a medium-hot salsa staple; and the unpredictable San Juan Tsile, a New Mexico chili still grown by elder farmers in a Native American pueblo that can be anything from mild to medium to hot.