Chile Addiction in New Mexico – Local Obsession


-We eat chile every day.
We eat red, we eat green. We put chile in everything
except oatmeal. Doesn’t work. ♪♪ -Hatch, New Mexico, is known
for producing one of the greatest-tasting
peppers in the world. -This valley is very fertile. We have the right environment.
We have the right altitude. -People say it’s the minerals
in the soil. -And it all comes together
to make an ideal chile. God smiled on us. -We get green chile and
red chile from the same plant. -The flavor is completely
different than if you pick, like, an Anaheim chile
or any pepper from Mexico. -It has a green note. I don’t know how else
to describe it. -We’ve never had anybody
that doesn’t like it. I know it’s the secret
to happiness. ‘Cause it gets you nice
and happy and wakes you up. -Chile peppers are part
of our culture. You find it on everything
in the state. We have a state question,
which is “Green or red?” -In my family,
I’m a green-chile eater. My husband’s a red-chile eater. -And the right answer for
the people that are in the know, it’s Christmas —
you get one green, one red. -We usually put it
in everything. There isn’t a taco or a burrito around that
we haven’t mixed it in. -I think green chile is like
salt and pepper. It’s — it’s something
you must have. -New Mexico without chile
is like… -Florida without oranges. -Like a fish without water. -…the day without sunshine. ♪♪ We’ve had the store now
for over 30 years. I don’t own this store, the Lord
owns it, but he lets me run it. We do have a farm. And praise God, it is in Hatch. We have 36 varieties
that we grow on the farm. We grow four main ones. We have the mild, the medium,
the hot, and the super hot. So we can either tantalize you or blow the top
of your head off. -I think it’s safe to say
in New Mexico, people eat chile every day. -We add chile to just
about everything. -We put it in our lasagna, we put it in our spaghetti,
we put — any ravioli that we have
is gonna have chile in it. -It’s just a — something that
we have become dependent on. We’re addicted to it. -You have to have a green chile
on any — every single plate that you eat, whether it be a steak
or burger or your enchiladas. People might think we’re crazy, but that is just the flavor
that we — that we like to eat. -The interesting thing is when
the heat’s gone from a product when you eat green chile, it’s not because
the heat’s not there anymore. Your body
has produced endorphins to block the pain signal. I hate to use
the word addiction, but there are good addictions. And eating, you know,
fruits and vegetables is a very good addiction. -I like that high,
it feels good, and it’s legal! So I tell people my husband
grows something that’s addictive and legal. Green chile is high
in vitamin A. Red chile is high in vitamin C. You can start getting a cold
and eat some red chile stew and you’re in good shape. We feed our kids chile
when they’re young, and they teethe on it. That capsaicin really makes
those gums feel good. My little two-year-old
great-grandson makes his egg and puts a little chile in that. And he thinks it’s supposed
to be that way. Dr. Bosland
does provide us with the seed. We provide him with acreage. And the New Mexico 6-4
was developed at New Mexico State University. We work very, very closely
with New Mexico State. -People know me as the Chileman. Some people say Dr. Pepper,
but in New Mexico, Chileman is more appropriate. Chiles is one of those
few commodities that’s a vegetable,
a spice, a medicinal plant, and an ornamental
all in one. Chiles have flavors. I always like to use
the wine analogy that when you
first drink wine, the only thing
you notice is alcohol. With chile peppers, it’s heat. But as you consume chilies
and start to look for the subtle differences
just like you would with wine, you can tell the difference
between a Cabernet and a Merlot. We also developed
the flavor wheel. Green chilies,
it lists the varieties. It says an earthy note,
vegetal overtone, great for chile rellenos. Red has a sweet note. I am very sensitive
to chile heat. And so I don’t go very hot. But with that,
I can really taste the subtle differences
among chilies. Here in the Los Cruces area, one of my favorite restaurants
is La Posta. They use our NuMex varieties,
so the chile is very flavorful. -We feed anywhere from 30,000
to 35,000 customers a month. So we make by the gallons
and gallons and gallons of red sauce,
green sauce. Our green chile is, you know, most flavorful,
along with our red chile. But the green chile really
brings all of our plates out. And with the Hatch Valley
right next to us, that is where we get all of our
green chile, you know, locally. Right now, we use
the Young Guns. We’ve used it for many,
many years. -We start planting the chilies
normally the 1st of March. And the peppers
usually emerge in April. As they grow through the summer,
they start producing fruit, which we start harvesting
in August. So when the harvest begins, we’ll pick the peppers
off the plants, then bring them in
to our facility, where the peppers are washed. They’re roasted. And we package them for resale
into retail or food service. At Young Guns,
we’re harvesting annually about 20 million pounds of peppers. -We estimate the New Mexico
chile industry in whole at $500 million a year. In New Mexico,
chile is spelled C-H-I-L-E. C-H-I-L-I is a seasoning
to make a bowl of chili, which is the state dish
of Texas. The university began in 1888,
and the very first horticulturist hired —
named Fabian Garcia — and his job was to find crops
that farmers could grow besides the typical corn,
wheat, hay. And so one of the things
he looked at was chile peppers. And he began a breeding program
and developed what we call the New Mexican pod type
called NuMex — capital “N,” little “U,” capital
“M,” little “E-X” — NuMex. I’m the fourth chile breeder
in a line since Fabian. So Fabian started in 1888. It’s now 2019, and there’s
only been four chile breeders. So it must be a good job
if people stay in it. -People think because the chile
is sold here in Hatch that it’s actually grown
in Hatch. You’ll find that a lot
of the chile is “from Hatch,” meaning that they might
have grown it other places, brought it to Hatch, spent the night here
so now it’s “from Hatch.” -So you can’t always trust
that when it says Hatch it’s really from Hatch. -We’re very particular about the chile that comes out
of Hatch. My mother-in-law is 94. My mother will be 97
next Wednesday. Both are avid chile eaters. My mother-in-law,
she swears by chile. She’s 94 years old. Says if it hadn’t been
for chile, she probably would be
in the grave by now, and I think that chile
is the secret to long life. -Green chile is a way of life
for me. This is all we know. ♪♪ ♪♪ -People always like to ask me,
“Why Hatch? Why is chile the capital?” And my answer is,
“God smiled on us.”