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Colorado vs. NM: Chile feud heats up

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

Before the first pepper of the season had been picked, a chile war of words erupted on Twitter between the governors of New Mexico and Colorado.

It started with a recent tweet from Colorado Gov. Jared Polis calling New Mexico chile “inferior” while bragging about a grocery store chain selling the state’s Pueblo chile for the first time.

Reymundo Aparicio, left, along with Mr. Sergio Grajeda center, chat and sell green chile to Pedro Verdugo, right, at Grajeda’s Hatch Chile Market last August. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

He tweeted: “About time! Whole Foods Market will soon offer Pueblo Chile widely acknowledged as the best chile in the world, in Colorado and throughout the Rocky Mountain region world.

“Whole Foods will stock 125,000 pounds of Pueblo Chile in Colorado, Kansas, Idaho and Utah. New Mexico stores will not unfortunately be offering the best chile in the world and will instead be offering inferior New Mexico Chile.”

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (David Zalubowski/Associated Press)

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham quickly fired back in a tweet of her own: “If Pueblo chile were any good, it would have been on national shelves before now. If Colorado wants to go chile to chile, no question that New Mexico can bring the heat – Hatch chile is, has always been and will always be the greatest in the world.”

Grocery stores across the country carry Hatch Green Chile, including Whole Foods, which has bought organic chile varieties from farmers in the Mesilla Valley for years.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham

Chile lovers quickly weighed in with retweets proclaiming their preference. U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., was among supporters of New Mexico chile and Lujan Grisham.

“Hate to break it to you, @GovofCO. Our gov is absolutely right. If you’re buying green chile from anywhere but New Mexico, you’re doing it wrong. So very wrong,” he tweeted – his words dripping with pity.

While it’s no surprise New Mexicans are passionate about the state’s best known crop, many of the Colorado residents responding to a non-scientific Twitter poll by a Denver television station also favored New Mexico chile.

KarmaSister said, “I feel like a traitor…. I love Hatch chiles!”

Boshemia’s Snark Side also proclaimed her preference for chile peppers from the Land of Enchantment. “Oooooo. I’m a Colorado girl through and through, but I also love to cook Southwestern food … Hatch is the only green chile. Sorry.”

But there were some detractors, including Jody McCoy, who tweeted, “It’s Pueblo Chile. Hatch chile is the generic form of green chile.”

In Hatch, farmer Sergio Grajeda hadn’t heard about the spicy situation. He’s too busy getting ready for this year’s harvest.

But Grajeda said he doesn’t need to look far for proof that Hatch Chiles beat the Pueblo variety. Some of the most faithful customers at his chile store year after year are from Colorado.

“Many, many of them,” Grajeda said. “They tell me our chiles are much better. There’s no competition.”

And that may be the point in Gov. Polis picking a high-profile twitter fight with New Mexico, a state synonymous with chile, as Colorado seeks to raise awareness about its Pueblo variety.

At least one defender of New Mexico chile made reference to Colorado’s most famous crop. Joaquin Cordova advised: “Stick to growing mota,” slang in Spanish for marijuana.