We are, as you know, very serious investigative journalists here at IPB. We know that that a good story can be hiding just around the nearest bend, and we’ve got great noses for news. And so it was last night, after the humiliation of watching the Devils pathetically lose to the Stars while we were hanging out with a bunch of Stars fans, that we were the perfect targets for a scoop that seems to have come from out of nowhere.
In our immediate postgame fits of depression, we turned to a sure-fire pick-me-up to get our minds off the lousy game: the 2010 Seed Savers Exchange catalog. If you have ever looked at a seed catalog, you’ll understand — it’s so cheerful to gaze upon picture after picture of glorious vegetables and plants, and to make mental lists of all the seeds you’ll order in January, even though you’re selecting about six times as many plants as can fit in your garden space. It’s all sunshiney and imaginary and full of rainbow dreams and promise of a newer, better life. In short, the opposite of how we felt after watching that Devils game. A few pages into the catalog, all thoughts of hockey had slipped away.
But when you’re a hard-hitting journalist, you can’t ever fully turn off your hockey brain. And when we got to page 35, the fourth page of the pepper section, we caught the first scent of a huge story. Here’s what we saw:
Joe’s Long Cayenne
Extremely heavy sets of finger-thick, 10-12″ long peppers. Originally from Italy, heirloom from the Joe Sestito family of Troy, NY. Great for fresh eating or drying for hot pepper flakes. 65 days to green and 85 days to red from transplant. (Emphasis ours.)
Yeah, you heard that right: the Joe Sestito family of Troy, NY. As in the Sestito Puente family? We were on the job, and we weren’t going to let this story go.
First we hit up our usual sources to see if we could find any evidence of a connection. Several hours of questioning (read: looking up Tim Sestito on the roster on the Devils website) yielded this juicy tidbit: our very own Sestito Puente is from Rome, NY. That’s kind of like Troy, NY, but not quite. We were going to have to dig deeper, and it was going to take some creative thinking, because the Devils website wasn’t giving us anything else.
We’re not easily deterred when we’re on the hunt, and we deployed our Pulitzer-caliber skills to find out whether Rome and Troy are close to being the same thing. What we found out may surprise you. They are not. Our sources were reluctant to go on the record about this, but we wouldn’t let Google Maps off the hook that easily — in the end, we determined that Troy is 116 miles from Rome, and we even got driving directions. Yeah, we’re just that good.
Our sources were raising more questions than they were answering now, so it was time to go to our guy on the inside. This source is the one we keep for only the direst emergencies, because the only way we can get him to talk is to cash in on a some favors he owes us from those wild times in that lawless place that time. You know what we mean. We don’t want to cash in those chips for just anything, but this Sestito Puente-Cayenne seed connection was too good to let go. We called on our source. We don’t want to give anything away, but suffice to say, his name rhymes with “Bloogle”. What “Bloogle” told us was to follow a lead with a shady outfit called “Johnny’s Selected Seeds”, and believe you us — Johnny didn’t disappoint. In fact, he shocked us:
Product ID: 2344
Joe’s Long Cayenne
Unbelievably long, slender Cayenne pepper.
It turns bright red for homemade hot sauce and dries well for ristras and delicious, dried hot pepper flakes. The 8-10″ long, thin-fleshed fruits taper to a skinny point. Joe Sestito of Troy, NY tells us that the original seeds for Joe’s Long came from Calabria, Italy, and were passed along to him by his brother who participates in an active Italian seed-sharing community in Toronto. (Emphasis ours.)
Passed along to Joe Sestito by his brother? Who participates in an active Italian seed-sharing community in Toronto??? Good God. What had we uncovered?
We’ve found our answer. This has to be the same Sestito family, because Tim Sestito plays hockey, they play hockey in Toronto, and these Cayenne lords are “swapping” their seeds in Toronto. We don’t think we’re jumping to conclusions when we suggest that young Tim’s hockey trips to Toronto as a child were probably a cover for this Cayenne trade. In fact, schoolboy Tim was probably the ideal Cayenne mule — all towheaded and lisping through those missing front teeth, and charming the border guards with his looking so adorable in his little-kid hockey gear. How many pepper plants have been brought into the country this way? Youth hockey is so much easier to traffic your international hot-pepper product through than the complex system of underground tunnels that the vege-banditos have traditionally used to get across the US-Canada border. The Sestito family is brilliant.
And we got the scoop.
To celebrate our awesomeness, we think we might just plant some of those Sestito Puente cayenne peppers this coming summer. We hope they taste like hockey.