Chimayo Heirloom chile has deep roots

New Mexico

Red or green? It’s the biggest question in New Mexico. A chile farmer in Northern New Mexico says it all depends on where the chile comes from. 

We eat it on everything. What wine is to France, chile is to New Mexico. It’s a vital part of the state’s culture, but that pride goes even further in Chimayo where the Chimayo Heirloom chile is growing in demand. 

“It’s real special to our community because the farmers have kept it what it was 200 years ago,” said Nicolas Madrid, the Manager at El Potrero Trading Post in Chimayo. 

Madrid says his customers don’t mind paying a little extra for the heirloom chile. 

“We’re looking at the $45 a pound for that chile,” said Madrid. 

That price tag is roughly six times the cost of your average New Mexican chile powder. Madrid has been buying from the same farmer for over a decade. 

“He’s a great guy, he answers his phone whenever I call him and he’ll show up by the afternoon. He knows we do him very well so he’ll save a lot of chile just for us,” said Madrid. 

Crescencio Ochoa, is the owner of El Jardin De Chile de Chimayo and the biggest heirloom chile grower in Chimayo. He says he has the land to thank for his popular chile. 

“Everyone know’s the Chimayo chile is one of the best New Mexico chile’s because of the soil,” said Ochoa. 

Ochoa says his chile can be grown anywhere, but he explains the flavor is never the same as when it’s grown in the sacred Chimayo soil. 

“I think the Chimayo chile is kind of sweet in flavor, a lot of people told me ‘hey did you put sugar in your chile?’ No that’s natural, it’s kind of sweet,” said Ochoa. 

The manager at El Potrero Trading Post says they’ve shipped Ochoa’s special Chimayo chile as far as Germany and Wales. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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