NM Hometown - Hatch (Third in Series)

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Do you know the difference between chili and chile? 

In New Mexico, particularly in Hatch, it makes a huge difference.

While growning up in PA, moving many times throughout the country, and landing eventually in Michigan for 20+ years, the word chili, was spelled with an 'i.' Then, I moved to New Mexico.  The 'i' was changed to an 'e.' and meant something entirely different.

Chili was defined in my mind as a mixture of ground meat, red beans, and red sauce.  We might say Texas style chili.  In NM chile is the name of the green or other colored vegetables that are picked and prepared in any number of ways and with a variance in heat factor.

This brief introduction to chile is critical to understanding this feature of Hobbs.  Hobbs is located in the central southern portion of NM.  If you are driving from Albuquerque south to Las Cruses, you will see the sign for Hobbs.  Hobbs is the epicenter of chiles, once the largest producer in the world and now producing, perhaps, 30 percent of the chiles sold worldwide.

If you think this chile thing is not important, try eating in any restaurant in NM.  I can not think of a single restaurant in NM that does not have at least one dish made with chiles.  For heaven sakes the state question is "Red or Green?" meaning would you like red chile on your dish or green chile.  One can also answer "Christmas" for a combination of red and green.

Hobbs is a fairly small community, less than 1500 pp.  It is highly dependent on the farming of chiles for income.  They really come into their realm in the fall as the harvest is celebrated with an annual event and the chiles begin to be distributed for anxious chefs and homemakers hoping to receive their supply for the year. 

With Truth or Consequences, Elephant Butte, Deming, Silver City, Gila National Forest and Las Cruses not so far, from Hobbs one can find most anythng necessary to live and to recreate.


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