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Red or Green?

Red & Green Chile Peppers, Ranchos de las Golondrinas, New Mexico 2014. Photograph ©Craig Varjabedian

Red & Green Chile Peppers, Ranchos de las Golondrinas, New Mexico 2014. Photograph ©Craig Varjabedian

In New Mexico we are proud of our chile. Some like red. Others like green. And some people like “Christmas” where a little of both are served with your meal. And don’t get me started on which one tastes hotter! 😉

Once you get a taste for our chile, nothing else will ever do. Some say that New Mexico peppers get their special flavor from how they’re grown: high altitude, long seasons of heat and sunlight, hot days and “chilly” nights (pun intended). Others have a preference for the precise locale where their chile is grown; farmers in Hatch or Chimayo New Mexico for example, each claim they have the best chile.

All I know is that New Mexico chile from anywhere in the state is simply the best there is. As the late great N’awlins chef Justin Wilson would drawl, “I ga-ron-tee!”

P.S. If you want to learn more about New Mexico chile, check out the article Chile Wars in the Santa Fe Reporter newspaper.

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CRAIG VARJABEDIAN is an award-winning photographer who explores the back roads of the American West, making pictures of the unique and quintessential. He shares awe-inspiring stories of the land and the people who live on it . . . one photograph at a time.

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing the article (and your image of course). I used to journey from Seattle to Santa Fe every two years for the APIS event put on by Bostick & Sullivan. Each time I would visit The Chile Shop in town and stock up on chile powder for the next two years (I love to make chili and the right chile powder is key). My favorite was Chimayo in the early 2000s, but then there was some kind of snafu with the supply of that variety from The Chile Shop so I switched to Nambe. Both of those are my favorites. Yours?

    Warm wishes,
    Craig

    • First let me say that that whether it’s red or green I love them both. Recently I have been acquiring my chile from a little religious shop in the heart of Chimayo; usually acquired during a break when I am teaching a workshop there. They sell chile that has been sun dried that has just a hint of sweetness that I really like. I also get chile from my neighbor Mr. Gonzales who brings it up from southern New Mexico and I even have a student from Velarde whose father grows the most delicious red chile and meticulously cleans all the stems and seeds out of it. One might say I am a chile connoisseur and I would be hard pressed to remember a time that I ever ate New Mexico chile that didn’t like. People definitely take their chile pretty seriously here. Thanks for the kind words about the picture BTW. I delight that some unknown person took the time to create this little arrangement of these beautiful red and green chiles.

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