The Mosco Chile Pepper

The Mosco Chile Pepper
provided courtesty of Michael Bartolo

Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station – Colorado State University
Notice of Release of MOSCO Pepper
Michael E. Bartolo,  Colorado State University, Arkansas Valley Research Center
27901 Road 21, Rocky Ford, CO   81067

    ‘Mosco’ , a roasting-type chile pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) was developed by the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station and released to seed producers in April 2005.  Mosco was released based on its superior horticultural traits compared to existing land races of the Mira Sol pepper (a.k.a ‘New Mexico Chile Improved’ and Pueblo Chile).  It is adapted to irrigated production in the Arkansas River Valley of Colorado and other pepper producing regions.

 Mosco originated from a land race of, what is referred to in Southern Colorado as, the Mira Sol chile pepper.  Mira Sol is Spanish for “looking at the sun” and describes the major distinguishing characteristic of this pepper, an upright growth habit for the fruit.  The grower of the original land race stock was Mr. Harry Mosco (dec.) who farmed east of Pueblo, Colorado in an area known as the St. Charles Mesa.  Mosco was derived from a single plant selection made in 1994.  Seed from that original plant was subsequently sown in 1995.  In 1995, a single plant was then selected out of that population. The single plant selection process was repeated for three more years/generations (1996-1998).  In 1999-2004, the seed from selected uniform plants was bulked for testing at Colorado State University’s Arkansas Valley Research (AVRC) in Rocky Ford, Colorado.

Red Mosco Chile Peppers   Mosco has thick fruit walls and high yield potential.  Mosco is more pungent than a typical Anaheim-type pepper, having an estimated pungency of 5,000-6,000 Scoville units.  Fruit are 12-16 cm in length, 2-3 cm at the shoulder and tapered to a point at the end.  Fruit grow in an upright position but may bend downward as the pods reach full maturity and weight.  Growth habit is lower and more branching than the typical Anaheim and Mira Sol pepper.  Mosco, is superior to the existing land races of the Mira Sol chile pepper in total yield, fruit size and fruit uniformity.  Fruit wall thickness is also greater in this line, resulting in better roasting characteristics.  Pungency is equal to or slightly greater than existing lines of the Mira Sol.  Fruit are slightly harder to detach from the plant in Mosco than the typical Mira Sol pepper.  As a result, harvest is somewhat more difficult.

Mosco was tested for four years at the AVRC.  Total marketable yields of Mosco were significantly higher than a commercially available source of New Mexico Chile Improved.

The Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station will maintain breeder seed of Mosco. Commercial quantities of seed may be obtained from Burrell Seeds of Rocky Ford, Colorado.