ALBUQUERQUE, N.M (KRQE) – You might have to wait for the smell of roasting green chile this year. A cool spring means a delay in the harvest.
“It just delays it. We probably got a two-week delay in our crop. It got cold and then it got too hot,” says Jimmy Wagner.
Wagner is the owner of Big Jim Farms in Los Ranchos. His family has been growing green chile for more than a century, so running into roadblocks along the way is nothing strange to him. Wagner says this last spring was a bit too cool for his chile crop. “We’re probably like two weeks delayed. From germinating the seed, and then from growing the seedlings, it’s just real slow,” he says.
Weather data shows this spring was about five degrees cooler than it was last year. Wagner isn’t the only farmer feeling the delay this season. The New Mexico Department of Agriculture says this past spring has delayed crops all across New Mexico.
“We’re at about 10% harvested, so we still have about 90% to harvest. At this point last year, we were about 27% harvested,” says Kristie Garcia with the Department of Agriculture.
That doesn’t mean people are not going to get their chile, though. The department says it’s all about patience. “Just to be patient that the harvest will come a little bit later. It’s just sort of a waiting game,” says Garcia.
Regardless of the delay, Wagner says the people will have their chile. “We’re in good shape. The crops look good with all the moisture and the rain and humidity.”
Wagner will start harvesting the chile Friday. He says this minor set back will not hurt his business when it comes to peak season, leading into September.
The Department of Agriculture wants to assure people there are still chile crops available for people to purchase right now. Hatch growers are eager to fill orders that will send green chile to all corners of the world.