Cumberland Times-News


June 1, 2014

How it’s done

Missing out on plant may lead to bigger things

Great ideas abound, but not every great idea is a good idea, and some good ideas just don’t work for reasons that really are nobody’s fault.

That doesn’t mean we should give up on failed good ideas, because they may plant the seed for an even better idea ... and in this case, plant is the key word.

Efforts to attract a California-based hot sauce plant to Mineral County, W.Va., have fizzled out, at least for the moment, because of a logistics problem. Facilities that produce hot sauce require the growing of pepper plants — preferably nearby — and our area simply does not have the growing season needed to grow peppers.

Mineral County officials aren’t giving up. They see this missed opportunity as inspiration to look beyond peppers to see what other economic development possibilities can be explored that involve agriculture. Plenty of other produce can be grown here, as the patrons of our farmers markets have learned, and it is of top quality.

Just as there is more than one way to skin a cat, there is more than one way to grow peppers.

Potomac State College, which is located in Keyser, has a respectable agriculture program and is exploring ways to cultivate peppers and other produce items in greenhouses and high tunnels, which resemble greenhouses but operate differently and are less expensive to run.

The pepper plant process also had the benefit of bringing Mineral County, West Virginia and federal officials to work together on an economic project for what may have been the first time.

Now, they know it can be done and how to do it — which makes it a great idea that also has proved to be a good idea.

As 56th District Delegate Gary Howell said, “We are not going to wait for opportunity to knock. We are going to go out and find opportunity and drag it back here.”


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