Enchanting Stories of New Mexico - Episode 1 - Presidential Counties

Welcome to the Fresh Chile Company Podcast - Enchanting Stories of New Mexico. Tune in to listen to all things New Mexico Chile, and other enchanting facts about New Mexico.
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Episode 1 - Presidential Counties

Michael Swickard here. Welcome to Enchanting Stories of New Mexico. This Podcast is sponsored by the Fresh Chile Company in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Our award-winning Hatch Green and Red Chile is brought straight to you from locally owned farms in Hatch, NM, The Chile Capital of the World. Hit subscribe to automatically get these Podcasts.

Here’s a good question: The great state New Mexico has 33 counties of which 18 of them are named for actual people. How many of New Mexico’s counties are named for U. S. Presidents?

Answer: Five New Mexico Counties. Can you name them? Well, Lincoln County is easy, Abraham Lincoln, as is Grant County, U. S. Grant, and then there is McKinley County named for William McKinley, Roosevelt County named for Teddy, and Warren G. Harding County.

Here’s a strange fact, three of the five died in office and two of them Lincoln and McKinley were assassinated. Only U. S. Grant and Teddy Roosevelt finished their term of office.

Let’s look at a New Mexico Enchanting Story: On the East side of New Mexico is Curry County, New Mexico. Clovis is the County Seat. It was named for the 17th Territorial Governor of New Mexico George Curry. Territorial because New Mexico wasn’t a state, yet. He was also a first member of Congress in the House of Representatives from the then newly created New Mexico.

Governor George Curry was appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt, on this week in 1907 and he served until 1910. Teddy Roosevelt knew him because in the Spanish-American War he was one of the First U. S. Volunteer Calvary, the New Mexico Rough Riders.

Born in Louisiana in 1861, he came to Lincoln County New Mexico in 1879 at age 18 after both parents had passed, A few years later was the Lincoln County Clerk in 1888. Afterward he was the County Assessor and later the County Sheriff. He was a member of the Territorial Legislature and was President of the Territorial Senate in 1896.

What I find especially interesting is upon being named Governor this week in 1907 he bought not one but two 1907 Ford Model S Roadsters.

He bought one to drive and one for parts. The 15-horsepower water-cooled engine had two speeds forward and one in reverse. Seating for three, it was Red with black striping and 30-inch wood spoke wheels and was said to have a top speed of 45 miles an hour. There were about 5,700 made before Henry Ford started making the Model T. The Model S was the final right-hand drive produced by Ford which started four years earlier.

A final note: at the time there was only 15 miles of pavement in Santa Fe, so it was always a spectacle when George Curry took his car out of a short but picturesque drive.

In this fast-paced world we live in, here is an interesting story. In 1857 a government contract was awarded to the Butterfield Overland Mail Company to deliver the mail from Saint Louis to San Francisco, through El Paso and Las Cruces. The contract stated it must be done quicker than the several months that it was taking. The first time it went 3,000 miles in 24 days. Ordering jars of Chile from the Fresh Chile Company is ever so much faster and quite delicious. PS, we use FedEx, UPS and The Post Office so the horses have been retired.

Let us talk about New Mexico Birthdays in May. First up is someone born in Albuquerque in May of 1939. He was from an auto racing family and his son and brother were also Indy winners. He is a four-time winner of the Indy 500. He became only the third racer to win the Indy 500 four times. At age 82 he passed December 9, 2021. We wish a Happy Birthday to Al Unser. Thanks for all the great racing moments and for bringing us Al Unser, Jr., who also is a great racer.

Also born in Albuquerque is TV Actor Nick Wechsler who is best known for being in the drama series Roswell. Look at that, Two New Mexico towns, Albuquerque, and Roswell… He left Albuquerque right after graduating high school and spent nine months trying to land a role. But he did and he was also in the TV show, Malcolm in the Middle. He has seven brothers. Think of mealtime at their family dinner table. Bet he likes Green Chile.

I have two other notable people both born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. One was a U. S. Senator and the other a Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive back who was a ten-time NFL Pro Bowler and was on the winning side more than once in the Super Bowl. There is not that many former U. S. Senators, so I bet you already guessed Pete Domenici. The other birthday is Ronnie Lott from the San Francisco 49ers.

Pete Domenici, incidentally, was also an athlete and was a pitcher for the Albuquerque Dukes, the Minor League baseball team. And Pete also taught mathematics at Garfield Junior High School in Albuquerque before going into politics and being the last Republican to be elected to the U. S. Senate from New Mexico.

Now lots of people saw the Landing of Space Shuttle Columbia in 1982 at the Missile Range’s Space Harbor over what was then known as Northrup Strip. It is an old lakebed that was selected for the backup Shuttle landing and lengthened to 35,000 feet.

The Space Shuttle was already landing in California and then also with the installation of a long runway back at the Kennedy Space Center, but they wanted another place just in case. And it happened. Rain in California and Florida so the only way down was New Mexico.

Initially it was a drone landing area, but the name changed in 1982 with the Columbia Shuttle landing. Yes, I was there and took pictures. I even have a picture of the crane putting Columbia on the special 747 plane to fly it back to the Kennedy Space Launch facility. Rumor has it that the one landing in New Mexico on the gypsum of the White Sands Space Harbor is still to this day finding little bits of gypsum all over that airplane. At least that is what I heard.

May 1970 was when the Northrup area got started with a series of test one tenth size models of the Shuttle that was dropped 8,000 ft above the ground to see how it could be controlled. The wingspan was 13 ft, and it was from these tests that the use of The Space Harbor was put into operation over the next 12 years with Shuttle Pilot Training starting in 1976.

Now the rest of the landing story involves that the day the Shuttle was supposed to land was an awful weather day with 50 mph dust and just awful. The news media wondered how we all were able to live in such a place. But then the next day was a typical beautiful New Mexico Morning and about 70,000 people were there to watch the landing.

According to the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, fishing is fair this week at Elephant Butte and below at Caballo Dam for Largemouth Bass and Smallmouth Bass along with Walleye and Catfish. I have been told that fishing for catfish is very good when you are using raw shrimp at the marina. Remember, if you have some fresh caught fish, a few spices and lots of good Green Chile it will make for a great dinner. But there is more.

Here is an opportunity for culinary fame. Take a picture of your freshly caught and then cooked fish dish with Fresh Chile Company seasoning, be it dry rub or salsa and submit it to us and you can join our thousands of cooks in our Chile cooking section. Upload your pictures on Facebook and tag The Fresh Chile Company or ask to join our private group called Fresh Chile Cooking and upload there.

Someone asked the other day, what is your simplest recipe that uses Hatch Valley Chile? Well now I open a jar of The Fresh Chile Company’s Salsa, take a chip, dip it, eat it and repeat.

Here is one of the Recipes on the Fresh Chile Company website. It was created by The Fresh Chile Company’s own Chris Lang who is a Fresh Chile Company partner and the owner and the founder of Organ Mountain Outfitters. It is an appetizer, Spicy Baby Carrots

The Prep Time is five minutes. Cooking time ten to fifteen minutes. Total Twenty minutes.

It serves eight and has 100 calories per servicing.

Ingredients: 3 Tbsp of Raw, Mesquite & Wildflower Honey or Hatch Hot Honey - Sweet & Spicy; 3 Tbsp of Hatch Chile Dijon Mustard; ⅓ cup olive oil 3lbs of baby carrots Salt to taste Pepper to taste.



    1. Boil baby carrots in a pot of water until tender. This should only take about 7-10 minutes; check the carrots by poking them with a fork or a knife.
    2. Drain the water and set the carrots aside.
    3. Make the Glaze on medium heat, heat the oil, Fresh Chile Honey, and Hatch Chile Dijon Mustard in a large skillet.
    4. Stir in carrots, coating well with the glaze.
    5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Recipe by Chris Lang

This is the Fresh Chile Company Podcast, I’m Michael Swickard. I’ve been asked, “Have you eaten Hatch Valley Green and Red Chile all your life?” I answer, “Not yet, but that is the plan. A little Chile is good, and more Chile is better.” I tell people we have to take care of the water in the Rio Grande River for without that water we will not have Green Chile and coffee.

One thing that happens when people live in Las Cruces is that they can come by the Fresh Chile Company Gift Shop. It is located at 1160 El Paseo Rd, Suite D7A in Las Cruces, NM. It is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. No need for shipping when you live close by.

But if you are living far enough away to need to ship: if you buy 12 jars, we offer Free Shipping if you live in the lower 48 states (excluding Alaska & Hawaii). Stock up and make sure you always have plenty of that which makes everyone smile: Hatch Valley Red and Green Chile. And a case of that delicious Chile would make a great present for someone who moved away and still has a taste for Hatch Valley Green and Red Chile. Also, if you buy three jars, we will donate one jar of our award-winning Mama’s Salsa to a local food bank in New Mexico called, Casa de Peregrinos. They provide school lunches and more for those in need in our community.

In 1895, the second graduating class of the college in Las Cruces, now known as New Mexico State University, set a mark for the number of graduates that likely will never be eclipsed.

There was one graduate who was, of course, the valedictorian, Jesse Edna Casad who read from her Senior Thesis on The Wild Bees of the Mesilla Valley. She married Clarence Rhodes; brother of the famous western writer Eugene Rhodes and they ran mining operations in Mexico for thirty years. There was absolutely no suspense on who was going to be named valedictorian in 1895, Jesse Edna Casad.

This is Michael Swickard with The Fresh Chile Company Podcast brought to you by The Fresh Chile Company. Thank you for your time today. We will always have lots of News and stories about New Mexico for you on this Podcast, If you have something you want me to talk about in a future podcast write to: michael@freshchileco.com

Have a great rest of your day. Oh yes and eat plenty of that good Hatch Valley Chile. Like I always say, “Some Chile is good, more is better.”

Bye for now.

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