Tom Gordon and his wife, Cris, are Orange County-based journalists by day but they are also the creators of The Pepper Project benefiting struggling Cambodian farmers who grow Kampot peppers. A vacation visit to Cambodia a few years back where they interacted with curious locals inspired this unusual odyssey.
During the days of French Indochina, most Kampot pepper was exported to the finest restaurants in France. In the 1970s, the farmers were relocated and the farms withered under the brutal reign of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge.
Today Kampot pepper, fortunately, is making a comeback with the help of The Pepper Project. The pepper is organically grown by 130 families, using traditional methods that go back centuries.