New law protects New Mexico chile
Posted at: 08/16/2012 7:28 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4
For years, when it comes to chile the question has been red or green, but under a new state law, the New Mexico Department of Agriculture is asking, 'where it's from?'
"We want authentic," Joyce June, who traveled from Arizona to stock up on New Mexico-grown chile, said. "There's no other experience like Hatch chile; it has a very deep taste to it."
Another customer said the new law helps protect the chile industry overall.
"It's very hard to be a farmer and to raise these chile so I think they should get credit for it," Paulette Joslin said.
Jimmy Lytle is one of those farmers carrying out a Hatch family tradition that dates back to the 1800's.
"Everything should be labeled to the point of origin," Lytle said. "If you're going to bring in chile from someplace else, it should be labeled as such."
And for the first time state law mandates it is.
The New Mexico Chile Advertising Act states chile can only be labeled New Mexico chile if it is actually grown in New Mexico soil.
"It's not right for people to bring chile in from someplace else and call it New Mexico chile, because we've got a very good reputation for chile here in Hatch."
Lytle said all too often chile is dubbed New Mexico-grown when really it's from other states or countries, something the new law makes illegal.
The guaranteed authenticity is what keeps customers coming back, residents said.
"Being from Hatch, we have great pride in our chile so for them to take it from us and say it's from New Mexico when it's not, it's just not fair," Jaxon Archuleta, who works at Sparky's Restaurant, said.
The chile crop is approximately 10 percent harvested so far this season.
The famous chile festival is Labor Day weekend, and all chile sold then is locally grown.