Hatch, New Mexico: Chile Capitol of the World

Written by on March 19, 2010 in NM Cities, Dining, Lodging - 1 Comment

Chile Peppers
Hatch is a small desert town in southern New Mexico that is struggling to hold on to its big title: Chile Capitol of the World. One may wonder how anything could ever grow in such a barren and dry place? But chile thrives in an arid climate, and Hatch is the perfect place with dry weather, warm sandy soil, and 350 days of sunshine a yeah for an endless farming season.

The chile plant is New Mexico’s largest agricultural crop and one of the biggest contributors to the state’s economy. Chile is to New Mexico what corn and soybeans are to the Midwest. In the past 20 years Hatch Chile production has drastically declined by more than 68 percent while the demand for chile and chile products like Southwestern and Mexican food, hot sauces, powders, and seasonings has sky-rocketed. Today over 82 percent of chile used in the United States are imported from India, China, Peru or Mexico.

Hatch Chile is renown worldwide for a bold, fresh and spicy taste that is second to none, and is the taste of New Mexican food. Green chile, blue corn, and pine nuts are the three ingredients that define New Mexican food, which is a unique style of spicy, Mexican-influenced food all to its own, but not to be confused with Mexican or Southwestern dishes.

When in New Mexico there is one essential thing you need to know: Whether you like red or green chile. Green chile is typically spicier with a chunky texture and is often made with pork, while the red has a mild spice but flavorful taste and a creamy consistency. Green chile goes great with enchiladas, burgers, and eggs among other great Mexican-American combinations. The red is typically used for enchiladas, but can be the perfect ingredient for all sorts of foods and sauces.

Although Hatch is more of a desert crossroads than a travel destination, it is a great place to stop during long drives to load up on fresh chile and treat yourself to a home-cooked meal from the Chile Capitol of the World. Try the stuffed and smothered sopapilla from the Pepper Pot, or their homemade chile rellenos.

Chile and other pepper species are great sources of vitamin B and C, and contain more vitamin A than any other plant by weight. Not only is chile good for you; it’s easy to cook with. If you know how to use a kitchen knife and a slow cooker or a frying pan, you can create a number of tasty and unique dishes. When buying chile look for locally or New Mexican grown product, you will be buying an American product and supporting your local farmer.

New Mexico Chile Association

The Pepper Pot
207 W. Hall St.
Hatch, New Mexico

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One Comment on "Hatch, New Mexico: Chile Capitol of the World"

  1. Patty Felter March 27, 2010 at 3:54 pm ·

    I think I’ll stop here on my next trip through New Mexico. Thanks!

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