Chili pepper harvestChris Franzoy knows a thing or two about New Mexico green chile. His family has been growing and processing the crop since 1932. Today, Chris and his wife, Tammy, own and operate Young Guns Produce in Hatch, a company that processes and markets the chile to distributors who supply food services and restaurants nationwide.

“We sell green chile, both frozen and fresh,” Franzoy says. “Green chile has become a trendy product people are crazy about. Consumers are becoming more aware of all its uses and how it enhances the flavors of burgers, hot dogs, eggs, enchiladas and many other dishes. It’s an explosion of flavor in every bite.”

New Mexico growers and processors like Franzoy have been promoting their green chile for decades, but in the last 10 years, the popularity of the New Mexico chile has grown immensely. Foodies and chefs across the nation are jazzing up simple dishes like macaroni and cheese with green chile goodness.

The New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) has worked hard to support local chile growers by providing marketing information to retailers.

“We give a lot of credit to the NMDA for helping us teach consumers and retailers how to roast and market green chile,” Franzoy says.

NMDA also worked with the New Mexico Chile Association to launch the New Mexico Certified ChileTM program, which helps ensure chile enthusiasts are getting what they paid for.

Often, chile is mislabeled as the coveted New Mexican chile when in fact they are grown outside of the state, or even the country.

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By labeling their chile with the New Mexico Certified ChileTM logo, state farmers are helping to preserve the New Mexico chile’s reputation, much like producers of the trademarked Idaho potato or Florida orange. For consumers, buying chile bearing the New Mexico Certified Chile trademark guarantees they have been grown and harvested right in the state.