ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico produced more than 53,000 tons of its most famous crop during the last growing season, meaning more chile peppers found their way into salsas and onto dinner plates than the previous year.
State and federal agriculture officials rolled out the latest numbers this week as New Mexico’s governor signed legislation that established the sweet smell of green chile roasting in the fall as the state’s official aroma.
New Mexico’s love affair with the hot peppers runs deep. Chile is one of the official state vegetables, it’s on license plates and it forms the basis of the state’s official question: “Red or Green?”
The state in 2014 even adopted its own trademark and certification program to protect the reputation and integrity of its signature crop, much like Idaho has capitalized on potatoes, Maine has its lobsters and Florida has its fresh fruits and juices.
The numbers …