Blistering national competition ahead at 2023 at Easton Farmers’ Market 14th annual Hot Pepper Eating Contest, rescheduled for Sat. October 21

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Hot Pepper Eating Contest (Paul Puleo photo credit)

Competitors to battle each other and nature’s hottest creations

What: 14th Annual Hot Pepper Eating Competition at Easton Farmers’ Market

When: Sat., Oct. 21, 11 a.m.

Where: Scott Park, Easton, Pa., riverfront

Two-time defending champion, Kelly Joel Myers will try to make it three blistering wins in a row against other brave souls who willingly set fire to their tongues and torture their digestive tracts to reign as the captain of capsaicin at the Easton Farmers’ Market 14th annual Hot Pepper Eating Competition.

The winner will be awarded a hand carved, engraved wooden pepper trophy, a leather champion’s belt and a prize bag full of sizzling foods from the Easton Farmers’ Market.

Notable entrants scheduled to appear on October 21:

Kelly Joel Myers – Lehighton, Pa.
Defending champion. Easton native, Wilson Area High School grad (2002)
Four wins in nine pepper-eating competitions
2021 & 2022 Easton Farmers’ Market. (Runner up in 2019)
2022 Philadelphia Taco Festival Pepper Eating Contest
2022 Highland Park, N.J. Pepper Eating Contest

Kris (The Scoville Unit) Fragale, Avoca, Pa.
Americas Belt Champion 2023 – League of Fire (San Diego, Calif.) on June 18, 2023

Matthew Leto, Lyndhurst, N.J.
Easton Farmers’ Market 2022 Runner-Up

Charles Brennan, Douglasville, Pa.
Has beaten Meyers and Fragale in other pepper-eating contests

Last year’s competition ended when Myers bested Leto after three tie-breaker rounds that included two Carolina Reapers; followed by two Dragon’s Breath; and then, a Carolina Reaper/Dragon’s Breath combination.

Pepper sequence and event enhancements 

Given the pepper heavyweights in this year’s competition, we will increase the pepper quantity once we hit the 5th round compared to previous years. We’ll increase the number of peppers with each round starting with the Malaysian Habenero.

Another change will be the ability to earn “pepper points” throughout the competition. These pepper points will be earned by answering pepper trivia. Contestants will find out Saturday how they can be applied to their contest strategy. (For examples: enjoy a cup of ice cream prior to the next round, deduct one pepper from a round or get an extra minute to down their pepper.) It will test the contestant’s deteriorating cognitive ability and communications skills as they get more and more intoxicated by the peppers.

Here’s the official 2023 line-up:

  1. Jalapeño
  2. Serrano
  3. Red Rocket Cayenne
  4. Lemon drop
  5. Goronong (Malaysian Habenero)
  6. Scotch Bonnet
  7. Ghost
  8. 7 Pot Douglah
  9. Morunga Scorpion
  10. Carolina Reaper
  11. Dragon’s Breath (2.48 million Scoville heat units, 300 times hotter than a jalapeno)

All of the hot peppers in this year’s competition will again be grown by Easton Urban Farm, part of Easton Area Neighborhood Center in Southside. Easton Urban Farm will have a fiery selection of peppers available at its tent for purchase.

About Easton Farmers’ Market 

Holding the title of America’s oldest, continuous open-air market, the Easton Farmers’ Market has been a destination for fresh and locally grown and prepared foods since pre-Revolutionary times. A program of the nonprofit Greater Easton Development Partnership, the Easton Farmers’ Market, presented by Capital Blue, is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday (May-December) at Scott Park along Larry Holmes Drive.

The EFM features 45+ vendors in the spacious, outdoor setting bordered by the Delaware and Lehigh rivers. The market moved to Scott Park from its longtime home in Centre Square in 2020 to accommodate COVID-19 health protocols.

Market details

Free parking for Easton Farmers’ Market will be available in the two lots adjacent to Scott Park, thanks to Riverstar Properties and the Law Offices of Florio-Perrucci. Vendors accept cash, credit, Venmo, PayPal, checks and EBT. Visit for online ordering information for participating vendors.

EFM – as well as the West Ward Market and Highmark Farmstand inside Easton Public Market — welcome Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Additionally, Philadelphia-based The Food Trust ( will double purchases up to $10 through the use of Food Bucks for fruits and veggies when shoppers spend at least $2 using SNAP at all three markets.

Sponsors for the 2023 EFM season include: Capital Blue, Lehigh Valley Health Network, Air Products and Martin Guitar.

About Easton Farmers’ Market

Easton Farmers’ Market (EFM) is a program of the Greater Easton Development Partnership (GEDP) and part of Easton’s Market District. EFM is America’s longest continuously-running open-air market. It is a producer-only market that features fresh, local produce – the vast majority of which is naturally or organically grown. Customers will also find antibiotic and hormone-free, pasture-raised meats, fresh baked goods, and ready-to-eat items. More: GEDP is a volunteer-driven, nonprofit organization focused on Easton’s economic well-being, historical integrity, vibrant culture, and hospitality. More:


Information provided to TVL by:
Michael Drabenstott (for GEDP)
Drabenstott Communications Group