Hatch Chile - The real story

All about New Mexico chile!

Of all the chile grown in the world we believe New Mexican chile is the best and the best chile in New Mexico comes from the Hatch Valley! Hatch green chile can be found online if its not available in your local grocery store and represents the cream of the crop when it comes to New Mexican chile. Another thing many people get hung up on is the spelling.

Chile? Don't you mean chili?

NO! Chili is not the same thing as chile! Although there are a few businesses that use the i, they do so only for non-natives. In New Mexico, chile is spelled with an e in order to distinguish it from the bean, meat, and tomato soup that people in other parts of America call chili (note the i). In New Mexico, chile refers to peppers of the genus capsicum which have been bred and grown in NM for the last hundred years. New Mexican chile is similar in appearance to Anaheim chile but don't believe people who say that it is a type of Anaheim. In reality, Anaheim's are a subset of the chile grown in New Mexico that were bred to be very mild for customers in California. New Mexican chile is grown all over the state but only one part of the state is known for its chile on a national level and that is the Hatch Valley in southern New Mexico

Why Hatch Chile?

Stretching from Arrey in the North to Tonuco Mountain in the South, the Hatch Valley is a New Mexican agricultural treasure. The high elevation, hot days, and cold nights combined with the fertile volcanic soil make the perfect conditions for growing chile. Farmers here in the Hatch Valley have been involved in chile production for nearly a hundred years. The patriarch of the Franzoy family in NM, Joe Franzoy was the first chile farmer in the Hatch Valley back in 1915.

Many non-natives know Hatch Green Chile only as a brand in the supermarket. Furthermore, farmers from here in hatch that market their own chile have to compete with businesses from Mexico that advertise their chile using the "Hatch" name as well. When in doubt, ask a fresh chile vendor what farm in Hatch they actually buy from. If they say they don't know or tell you that Hatch chile doesn't have to come from Hatch, move on to a different vendor as you are being swindled.

Where can I buy Hatch Chile?

Hatch Chile can be bought in many grocery stores in New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas. However, much of what is sold even here in New Mexico is not from Hatch. Always ask vendors what farm they buy from and where in the Hatch Valley the farm is located if you are buying in a grocery store.

If you aren't lucky enough to live in the Southwest, you can order Hatch Chile from two different farms which market their chile online. The Hatch Chile Store is the cheaper of the two and sells chile grown at Berridge Farms. The Hatch Chile Express is the other farm which sells directly to the public but their prices are a bit higher than the Hatch Chile Store. A simple Google search for "hatch green chile" will bring up numerous other discount retailers but none of them are from Hatch and are not clear about the origin of their chile.

Well OK, you've sold me on this stuff but what do I do with it?

Native New Mexican's use chile in an absolute plethora of dishes both Mexican and American in origin. Take a look at our recipe page for a list of some of the most popular uses of green chile in New Mexico. I published this content out of a desire to spread the word about the chile grown here in the Hatch Valley. Find our more about Preston at either of his personal blogs hosted at NMSU as Hatch Chile King and Preston Mitchell.