New Mexicans celebrate chile trademark

Posted at: 08/19/2014 6:35 PM
Updated at: 08/19/2014 6:39 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Idaho potatoes. Florida oranges. New Mexico chile!

Our state is now a giant step closer to preserving and protecting its world famous chile industry. We are talking trademark here; when people see it - bearing the slogan "New Mexico Certified Chile", they will know they're getting the real deal.

Just like when you buy Idaho potatoes - you know they're not from Montana - and Florida oranges are not from California.

The kickoff party for the new trademark was held at the legendary Range Café in Bernalillo Tuesday afternoon.  New Mexico chile growers, processors and packers, along with restaurant and grocery people, have been aiming at this for years, and now it's finally here.

"New Mexico chile has been discovered all over," said Range Café owner Matt DiGregory. "I think you can go from New York to Portland and you'll find it. People advertise New Mexico chile on their menus, so having that badge that says it's real will be very important."

"This is something we've never done before," said John Brooks, founder and owner of John Brooks Supermarkets. "You've got Idaho potatoes, you've got all the different things they've done that with, so it was really time for New Mexico chile to make sure that people are getting what they're paying for."

"We've been in the chile business for 63  years, and we're really excited about this program," said Gene Baca of Bueno Foods. "There's so much chile out there that people don't know where it comes from. It's called New Mexico or Hatch, and it really doesn't always come from those areas. This will really let consumers know real New Mexico chile."

Memo to out-of-state and foreign chile growers: if you call it New Mexico chile and it's not – we'll see you in court and you're gonna pay!

Chile growers and processors will bear the cost of enforcing and promoting the trademark. The New Mexico Chile Association said it will work closely with smaller growers to make sure that it's affordable for them to stick with the program.