Show 146, November 14, 2015: Tom Gordon, Co-Founder, The Pepper Project

The Pepper ProjectTom Gordon’s and Cris Petersen’s The Pepper Project promotes U.S. importation of fine Kampot pepper as a way to support Cambodians and the country’s economy. It’s a distinctive pepper that was used in the finest French restaurants during the colonial era. The peppercorns come in black, white and red varieties. There are lots of creative and doable recipes featuring the Kampot peppers on The Pepper Project’s Website.

“To us, Cambodia is more than a pin on the map or one of 1000 places to see before you die. Although the life expectancy is around 60, an entire generation of fathers is missing and there are tens of thousands of amputees as a result of land mine injuries, this is not a place to pity.”

“This is a country filled with people who persevere, who always have a warm smile and who are grateful for every day.”

“Our mission is to get the word out about all the treasures that Cambodia has to offer starting with Kampot pepper, a spice that is highly regarded in many parts of Europe but that most people have never heard of.”

The Pepper Project USA is hosting a Holiday Open House at their Orange gift shop boutique on Sunday, Nov. 15th from Noon to 4:00 p.m. We’ll get the inside information on the wide variety of affordable Cambodian handmade crafts and unusual comestibles available from Tom Gordon. There are some 400 items available and if you miss the Open House you can order via their easy-to-navigate Web site. It’s Holiday shopping (far from the ordinary) for a cause.

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Show 36, July 20, 2013: Tom Gordon, co-creator of The Pepper Project

The Pepper ProjectTom 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.

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