Funny you should mention peppers Drew. When we went through a garden area, I remarked to Alan that Drew would like these:
When I mentioned that I don't like vegetables (unless you count potatoes, corn or wheat) Alan told me I'd almost surely like these peppers. My wife has never managed to get me to try a pepper, but at Alan's urging, and with considerable trepidation, I took a good sized bite. As he watched my face, he simply comment "Well, maybe not."
Here's the pepper, complete with bite-mark, which I brought home (my daughter immediately grabbed it and scarfed it down).
Here's a closeup of the figs. They were OK, but nothing stellar. The brix was pretty low (~12, I think) after several days of rain and cold (50-52 degrees F, when I was there). I tried a few figs from his fridge and while very soft, they were definitely sweeter. I guess that is the risk in growing figs in a shorter season area without consistent sunshine.
Here's a pic of his Empress tree, under bird netting. These were nice and large and were right up there with Valors. I think the best Valor was a bit better, but Empress is nothing to scoff at.
On the way home, GPS sent me on the scenic route. I was really struck by the amount of water. It seemed that there was always water by at least one side of the road and sometimes on both. There were at least two long stretches like the following pic. I have a co-worker who lives 20 min North of Alan. When I showed her the picture on Monday, she said that it, and a lot of the water in this area is part of the New York city reservoir system, which supplies most of the city's drinking water.
That's a good pic to end it on. I want to thank Alan for his generosity and time. And to repeat my offer of a tour in my (somewhat more compact) orchard.