- Associated Press - Thursday, August 11, 2016

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - It’s that time of year again when the smell of fresh roasted green chile permeates the air in New Mexico.

The roasting has begun in Las Cruces and is expected to continue through mid-October as the green peppers are harvested. Those left hanging will become red chile.

There has been a noted uptick in recent weeks of activities outside grocery stores as large chile roasters have appeared, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported Thursday (https://bit.ly/2aO0FE4). Stores in the Albuquerque area also are setting up for the annual tradition.

Chile is one of New Mexico’s most famous crops, with annual production being valued around $40 million. This year, farmers in Dona Ana County started the harvest a bit early thanks to transplanted plants that had a head start over those grown from seed.

Las Cruces resident Diana Muñiz waited Wednesday to have 8 pounds of chile put through the roaster.

“The smell of it roasting just kind of makes you feel better inside,” she said. “It (chile roasting) is so much a part of who we are, so much of a part of our culture here in Las Cruces.”

Brazito resident Charlene Tyler, shopping in a nearby store, said she intends to roast chile by herself. Her mother taught her how to roast and peel it years ago and she’s been doing it almost every year.

“Everybody, a lot of families, have their own way of doing it,” she said. “I’ve kind of learned there really isn’t any one exact way to do it, they’re all good.”

Tyler also believes the time of the year for chile roasting helps the economy.

“It’s good to see the farms in the county benefit from the chile they sell,” she said. “For some of them, it can be the difference between making a profit for the year or not.”

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Information from: Las Cruces Sun-News, https://www.lcsun-news.com


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