From the familiar smell to that kick of heat, green chile roots run deep in New Mexico.
“Everyone’s like, Hatch green chile’s everything,” said Bridget Odien.
Odien moved to New Mexico three years ago from California, and she fully embraced the state crop.
“I started eating it and fell in love with it, and soon I was cooking with nothing but chile,” she said.
Odien became curious about the food too, when she watched the roasting process.
“I would see all the stuff coming off the chile, the skin, and I’m like I wonder what they do with that? And I started asking questions,” said Odien.
When roasters told her she could have the flaked off skin, she decided to make paper with it.
“I think for people to wrap around, oh my God, Hatch green chile paper? I mean that’s weird,” she said.
From journals to cards and envelopes, Odien does it all.
“You can print on it, you can paint on it, you can write,” she said.
She prints her own photography on it and also prints popular images on the paper. The process took her two years to perfect because she says the chile is like jelly.
“It is fun now that I got it because there was a few times I was like, I gotta be crazy, what am I doing, what am I doing? she said.
Odien is now selling the paper goods on her own website and Etsy accounts.
“I kept on, kept on, kept on, and I’m so happy. I’m so excited because it finally worked,” she said.