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Big batch of fresh New Mexico green chile.

Panza llena, corazón contento (A full tummy makes for a happy heart.) ~ Mexican proverb

It’s official.

Green chile harvest season in New Mexico has begun.

This means batches of fresh New Mexico green chile will soon be in homes of people all over the state and anyone else blessed to be traveling through at just this right time.

A sweet kind of mania takes over at harvest time. Surely it has to do with the scent of roasting chile in the air.

Roll the windows down as you drive by the local supermarkets and road stands and breathe in deep. Especially if they’re firing up mass quantities of the stuff, you’ll catch the mania, too.

Many New Mexicans bring their freshly bought chile home ~

Green chile trio.

roast, peel, and then, cook or freeze them for use in various dishes throughout the year until next year’s harvest comes in.

Others choose to have their chile roasted for them at the market.

The aroma of roasting green chile will intoxicate you either way.

If you’re a long-time New Mexican, the first whiff of chile will bring back memories of fun times with family and friends around the table.

If you’re a visitor, the first whiff will move you to pull over to buy a batch of chile and start making memories of your own. Here is your chance to experience super fresh green chile ~ never once refrigerated or frozen ~ in dishes like:

Chiles Rellenos, chiles stuffed with cheese and fried ~

Dishes like this Chile Relleno with Green Chile Sauce are made possible with the New Mexico green chile harvest season ~ photo by Eugene Kim.

Green Chile Burritos ~

This green bañado (burrito "bathed" in green chile sauce) plate served at Nellie's Cafe is one of the delicious dishes the New Mexico green chile harvest season makes possible.

and Green Chile Cheeseburgers (GCC’s) ~

Green Chile Cheeseburger (unofficial state dish of New Mexico); this one is from Dick's Cafe in Las Cruces.

If New Mexico had an official state dish, the green chile cheeseburger would be it.

Yep . . . chile plays a part in most EVERY savory New Mexico culinary experience.

That’s chile spelled with an “e,” by the way. 

(Chili with an “i” is short for chili con carne, the spicy tomato broth stew that is the official state dish of those other guys we call “Texans.”)

Chili is delicious, too, but it is just ONE dish. Chile is a way of seasoning and making many dishes distinctively New Mexican.

All of this devotion . . . and the chile isn’t even native to New Mexico. The plant originated in the tropical Caribbean where they don’t have to work so hard to keep the land irrigated.

Chile doesn’t like it dry.

But New Mexicans like their chile so they don’t mind the hassle.

Probably, you will, too ~ so stop by this summer and sample some freshly harvested New Mexico green chile for yourself. It’s a delicious and unique taste of the Southwest you can take back home and enjoy all year long.


Check out Day’s Hamburgers for one of the tastiest green chile cheeseburgers in New Mexico.


Chile Relleno with Green Chile Sauce by Eugene Kim.