The display of pulleys and levers was stripped bare. The ground was muddy. The fair was over.

My feeling at the West Tisbury Farmer's Market last weekend was like that of waking up after a long dream. There were no more beets of unusual size, no more floppy-hatted cows. It was time to get back to the basics, the summer staples, the workhorse veggies.

I decided it was a good week for a pepper check-in: I had seen a lot of colorful capsicums on my Instagram feed, and my own crop was coming into ripeness. Indeed, they were one of my few remaining crops still unaffected by the malicious deer who use my garden as a salad bar— there is a reason I write about farming, rather than practice it. Some web sources claim nightshades (the vegetable family that includes tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and peppers) are deer resistant, but I am hesitant to consider any plant as safe — they certainly went to town on my eggplant blossoms.

After I picked up a peck (roughly) of peppers from the market, I made a stop at the Island’s newest farmstand, Radio Farm Gallery, right across from the market’s exit on State Road, at the former location of Susie Middleton’s Green Island Farm. After a winding, floral vista-ed trip down the winding driveway; even if it weren’t so scenic, it would have been worth the trip — the natural beauty of the flower a la carte “bouquet bar” complements art pieces by Liz Rangone and Brad Tucker. The iced tulsi tea, free to visitors, is quite refreshing.

I returned home with seven peppers: four from Fire Cat Farm (Carmen, Jimmy Nardello, red cayenne and Buena Mulata), two from Morning Glory Farm (purple bell and cherry bomb) and one from North Tabor (shishito). I picked two from my own garden (petit Marseillais and Escaramillo). Because I am vain, I started the tasting with my own. The French Marseillais was just a bit sweet with lots of pepperish tang and no heat. The Italian Escaramillo was much sweeter, much juicer and much meatier.

Tune into Radio Farm in West Tisbury. — Thomas Humphrey

When researching the peppers, I found out that my Escaramillo pepper and Fire Cat’s Carmen (sweet, delicate, and bright) are sister varieties of the same heirloom Corno di Toro (Bull’s Horn) pepper, named for the two lovers in the opera Carmen. I am sure Don José wouldn’t be happy to see these two together, but there is no Don José pepper, so he is helpless to act.

MGF’s purple bell was the crispest pepper of the bunch — areas with orange highlights were sweeter than those with streaks of green. The wrinkly Jimmy Nardello, a sweet frying pepper, reminded me of pimento.

At this point in the tasting, I was still feeling that dreamy fair hangover. The shishito finally woke me up. As I took a bite, I forgot the statistic that one in 10 shishitos are spicy. I had a mouth full of seeds when I realized my mistake, and my bad luck. I was much more careful with the rest of the bunch, all of which were spicy, and thus avoided the capsaicin-laden seeds. The red cayenne and cherry bomb each had only moderate heat levels.

I saved the purple cayenne, the Buena Mulata, for last. It is a pepper with a history, tracing its origins back to Horace Pippen, a folk painter who often dealt with the slavery his grandparents were born into, a Great War veteran and a southern heirloom seed-saver. The Buena Mulata is mild and metallic, with a pleasant heat.

The capsaicin still lingered on my lips several hours later, a reminder that no nightshade should ever be underestimated.