New Mexican chile is better known in foodie circles than ever before but there is still quite a bit confusion and misinformation about just what New Mexican (and by extension Hatch) chile really is. Furthermore, some industry specific terms surrounding New Mexican and Hatch chile can sometimes add to the confusion.
New Mexican Chile is a catchall phrase which refers to the family of cultivars (varieties) developed and grown here in New Mexico over the course of the last hundred years or so. Although many of the varieties grown here are also grown outside of the state of New Mexico, its false advertising to claim they are truly “New Mexican” chile. In fact, labeling chile as “New Mexican” when it is grown outside of the state is against the law here in NM.
New Mexican varieties of green chile peppers are relatives of the Anaheim chile but differ significantly in flavor and heat. Anaheim chile was developed here in New Mexico in order to satisfy demand in California for a milder, less flavorful chile pod. Because it was intended to grow in the Anaheim area, the it was named “Anaheim” by its developers at New Mexico State.
Despite being internationally recognized for quality and flavor, New Mexico’s chile industry is currently in steep decline. Only 25% of the acreage harvested in 1992 is still used to produce chile now and 82% of chile consumed in the U.S. is imported from countries such as China, Peru, and Mexico. Foreign competitors may be able to grow and sell their green chile for less than we can here in the USA, but their chile is nothing like authentic New Mexican grown green chile in terms of flavor.
Hatch green chile (what we grow and sell) refers to varieties of New Mexican chile grown here in the Hatch Valley. Only chile grown here in Hatch, New Mexico, and the surrounding Hatch Valley is actually “Hatch Chile”. There are many different varieties of green and red chile grown here, meaning “hatch chile” is a catchall phrase for chile grown in the Valley. Similar to wine from the Napa Valley in California or Vidalia Onions from Vidallia Georgia, the chile from our valley is famed for its wonderful heat and flavor.
We grow and sell 5 varieties of chile ranging from Mild to Double X-Hot. If you’d like to learn a little about each variety, feel free to click through below.
NM #20 was developed after consistency in the NM 6-4 variety began to decline due to cross pollination over the years. 6-4 had become inconsistent and would yield pods with too much heat for people looking for a good mild. NM #20 was the answer and allowed farmers to again offer a very mild, sweet variety that still had the depth of flavor that other New Mexican varieties offered.
This pepper was co-developed right here in Hatch Valley. It is a larger variety ranging in size from 7-10 inches in length. Big Jim varies in heat from one pod to the next, but averages out to a medium spiced chile. It’s a favorite in our family to chop and use for medium heat enchiladas. It is also great for rellenos, if you don’t mind the range in heat. And they sure get big! We once had a relleno that held a half pound of ground meat!
This pepper ranges 5-8 inches and is one of the hotter ones we offer. It’s a favorite among those who love very spicy foods. It can be used for enchiladas, rellenos, and most fiery dishes. It is known for it’s consistent heat, and makes great enchilada sauce.
This is our smallest pepper, but its very hot. This is for people who love the hottest chile. It makes great salsa and adds a great level of spice in small doses. Barker really is X-Hot, and is only for the most experienced hot pepper eater so the Sandia might be a good first try.
Our website is one of the few legitimate ways for consumers, chefs, and chile connoisseurs across the country to buy and enjoy authentic Hatch Green Chile peppers. If you have any questions about our chile, feel free to email us or give us a call! We love to hear from our customers.