Who are we?
In case you don’t know already, Langholm is a small town (about 2200 people) nestling at the Southern boundary of the Scottish Southern Uplands, about 10 miles from the English Border and 20 Miles north of the English Border City of Carlisle
It's a typical picture-postcard kind of place - the Town sits on the confluence of 3 rivers (we have 12 bridges in one square mile), closed off by hills and surrounded by some pretty stunning 'wilderness' Despite its nearness to civilisation, the area remains totally unspoilt.
But what really makes Langholm unique is the strength, and sense of self-sufficiency, within the local community. To illustrate: It's not just considered good manners to say 'hi' to passing strangers - It's THE LAW - seriously - any non-greeters WILL be named-and-shamed. Basically, the place is like 'Midsomer Murders' - except there's no murders....and no police either. …
This is relevant because it's been essential to the way the Chilli Club has grown from a joke amongst friends in October 2017, to over a thousand people, across the world, growing silly plants!
All based on a lie
Meet Gregg Hallford. He’s a hard man to get a photo or a word out of; and what words you do get are not to be trusted.
Back in March 2017, one of our members had to go to the U.S. for a couple of months, and left his seedlings with whoever he could find. Gregg took some...and then said he’d killed them all. And then in October he turned up at our local café Pelosis with the most excellent selection of Chilli fruit. One of those plants is pictured here; since he’s managed to accidentally-cross breed it, and it’s now third-generation, we’re allowed to name it, as the first unique Langholm variety.
Now, this might never have meant a thing; but Mags Wilson was also there……Here she is:
Mags is… one of those people who are interested in everything (let's leave it at that!) And Mags asked what the chillies were, and… we all just thought it would be a cool idea to grow some. Get Maureen ‘The Germinator’ Brockley, Roddy ‘Manic’ McLaren, Sue ‘The Guvnor’ Toon and the ThelmaDon on board and we were ready to go ?
The idea was just as a joke...
...amongst the customers at the Café; so, we figured on maybe 20 or so people getting involved. But this is Langholm. By the time the first seed order arrived we were up to 100. So, we planted some more. One member had 330 seedlings on a tiny Windowsill. It all went out of control after that!
Once the seedlings came up and people saw them plants, everyone wanted one; By the end of 2018 we had about 600 members, most of them from Langholm - given that there's only 2,200 people in town, including babes-in-arms… that’s about a third of everyone in an entire town.
Suddenly other people starting joining… from every corner of Scotland, Britain and eventually the world – We now have members as far afield as Sweden, Australia, China, and the Falklands Islands. - And that just kept on going – today, we’ve got 900 online members, 300 more off-liners in Langholm, 6 school clusters who all grew chillies last year and will do again next year plus 7 ‘satellite’ clubs – including one as far away as south London. And a whole lot more people who got plants off friends and neighbours. It is just impossible to count!