Chilli festival announces return – and plea for foodies to get growing!

THE Great Dorset Chilli Festival has announced a return for 2023.

The event will take place at the Stock Gaylard Estate, near Sturminster Newton, on the weekend of August 5 and 6.
And organisers are promosing a weekend of ‘great food, music, entertainment and competitions, with a bit of added spice’.
To get foodies in the mood, the festival has launched a chilli-growing competition – with seeds needing to be sown now for a summer fruit.
The festival’s Chilli Plant Growing Competition will be judged at the event, so amateur gardeners should be sowing their chilli seeds now.
“Judging is taken very seriously, and the competition is fierce,” said festival director, Miles Halton.
“But the joy is that anyone can take part, and anyone could win. It’s always worth having a go.”
The competition is in two classes: Class 1 is only for the chilli variety “Dusk”, a really pretty bushy chilli plant with masses of fruit ripening to red and purple.
Class 2 is the open class into which any chilli plant can be entered.
Plants are judged on appearance, development, condition and fruiting.
Judging is by two respected commercial chilli seed growers, Michael Michaud of Sea Spring Seeds (Sea Spring Seeds developed the hot Dorset Naga chilli) and Matt Simpson of Simpson’s Seeds (as seen on TV shouting “grow, damn you” at his chilli plants).

The winner of each chilli plant competition class will receive a £50 gift voucher from local instore and online cookware and gardening retailer, Harts of Stur, who are based in Sturminster Newton.
Sea Spring Seeds has also provided the festival with a limited supply of Dusk chilli seeds to give away.
For a copy of the rules and to claim your seeds, email
For more about the festival, visit

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