Rain at harvest time not good for chile farmers

Posted at: 09/23/2013 6:16 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

All the rain we’ve been getting is actually a potential nightmare for farmers who are harvesting New Mexico’s most popular crop right now.

Rain at harvest time can mean flooded chile fields, uprooted plants – a harvest of mud with no money to be made – but it didn’t work that way this time. Chile growers up and down the Rio Grande Valley tell us they suffered only minor damage with no fields lost and the green chile harvest just keeps coming in.

“We’ve still got at least a good two weeks, maybe three weeks,” said Paula Sichler, who grows chile and other produce and sells it at the Snake Farm produce markets in Los Lunas and San Antonio. “We’ll probably stay open at our produce stands till the end of October, with pumpkins and everything. We’ll have green chile all the way up till first frost or the end of October.”

Customers tell us they’re glad to hear it – more time to buy more chile.  Benny Ortiz was ordering a bushel to be roasted at the Snake Farm store in Los Lunas Monday morning.

“I bought extra hot last year and I still have some left,” Ortiz said. “It’s just a little bit too hot. I think I’m going with the hot this year.”

Growers up and down the Valley say this year’s crop looks real good – not great like last year’s, which was one of the best in a long time – but good.

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