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Peppers : Big Orange

August 19, 1993|DANIEL P. PUZO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Orange now joins the rainbow hues that make up the family of sweet bell peppers available any month of the year at the produce counter. After five years of trial and experiment, the Coachella-based Sun World International has trademarked L'Orange Royale as a mainstream produce item that will be available, not as a seasonal $5-a-pound novelty item, but throughout the year.

Peppers have proliferated in recent years, but most of the unusually colored strains have been imported from hot houses in Holland or Canada. In this country, oddly colored peppers are also occasionally available from local farmers or back yard gardeners.

L'Orange Royale will have national distribution and Sun World hopes it will be priced comparably to its other trademark pepper products: La Rouge (red) Royale and La Jaune (yellow) Royale. During the summer months, supermarkets have featured these peppers for less than $1 a pound.

From now through November, L'Orange Royale will be grown at the company's farm in Irvine. Production will move to Mexico during the winter and then to the Coachella Valley in spring.

The hybrid is a result of combining three different strains together to produce a pepper that can grow to 10 inches in length, four inches in width and weigh up to two pounds.

L'Orange Royale retains its brilliant color after cooking. Other specialty peppers, such as the purple strain, turn pale when heated.

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