Enchanting Stories of New Mexico - Episode 16 - The Enigmatic Tale of Doc Holliday in New Mexico

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 16 - The Enigmatic Tale of Doc Holliday in New Mexico

Michael Swickard here. Welcome to Enchanting Stories of New Mexico sponsored by the Fresh Chile Company in Las Cruces, N M. Our award-winning Hatch Green and Red Chile is brought to you from locally owned farms in Hatch, NM, The Chile Capital of the World.

For those of you who have seen the 1993 movie, Tombstone, Val Kilmer was an absolute delight in his portrayal of Old West legend Doc Holiday. He has the quote for the day about New Mexico. He said: New Mexico is my home. It has never been anything but home. The ranch has rivers and canyons, everything imaginable. I can ride, hunt and fish. At the same time, ranching is grueling, difficult work. It`s like acting, to be successful at it, you have to work hard. I take it very seriously. That is what Val Kilmer said. Again, he had a great movie role as Doc Holiday. Now the real John Henry “Doc” Holliday who moved to Las Vegas, New Mexico for a time and hung out his shingle as they say, open for business as a dentist. That was his training and he was also a professional gambler, which was his passion.

Doc Holiday saved lawman and gambler Wyatt Earp in Texas where Wyatt was in jail for selling gold bars painted gold but were lead. So, Doc and Wyatt went to Las Vegas, N. M. Then the New Mexico Territorial Legislature decided to outlaw gambling, So Doc Holiday along with Wyatt Earp moved on to Prescott, Arizona and then to their legendary destiny in Tombstone including the Gunfight at the OK Corral.

A couple things some people don’t know about Doc Holiday, one time resident of New Mexico is he was only five foot two inches, a rather small man but his pistols lifted him up. The old saying goes: God created men equal. Colonel Colt made them equal.

When he was leaving New Mexico, he mentioned three reasons for leaving the Land of Enchantment. The least reason was that the gambling was made illegal. There were two others which were connected. Doc Holiday had found the winters very cold which made his third reason so important. You see he had tuberculosis from age fifteen on and would eventually die of it so he needed the dry hot climate of Arizona for his health. Much like Val Kilmer a decade ago sold his 6,000 acre New Mexico ranch and has been living in the Malibu California area, taking care of Throat Cancer which is in remission. Great movie: Tombstone.

You know, New Mexico has some unusual names for towns and cities. Take the one most people know is in fact New Mexico. Albuquerque. What and odd name. There are no other states with an Albuquerque that I know of in the United States. It was founded by then New Mexico Governor Francisco Cuervo y Valdes and named in honor of the viceroy of New Spain, with a very long involved name who was the 10th Duke of Alburquerque. Note that the word Albuquerque in today’s usage is lacking one r from the 10th Duke of Alburquerque.

All right I’ll try his name: Francisco Fernández de la Cueva y Fernández de la Cueva, the 10th Duke of Albuquerque. Fast forward to today. It is officially the 19th Duke of Albuquerque , Juan Miguel Osorio y Bertrán de Lis, born in 1958.

In 1983, as a caretake for UNM Professor emeritus Matt Pearce, I met the 18th Duke of Albuquerque. Matt was a well-known historian whose book NM Place Names is great.

Let me tell you some good culinary news: the 2023 Hatch Chile Pepper growing season is in harvest. Therefore, the Chile Roasting Drums are fired up with that wonderful sound and smell of roasting Hatch Green Chile. Fire-roasting gives the Chile a wonderful smokey flavor.

Michael Swickard here with Enchanting Stories of New Mexico sponsored by the Fresh Chile Company in Las Cruces, N M. Hit subscribe to automatically get these podcasts.

Fishing is good in New Mexico. One of the great places is The upper Río Grande around Taos which is the epicenter of trout fishing in New Mexico. There are many other streams that will fish well: The Red and Hondo rivers are excellent for beginners.

Know this: a fishing license is not required for 11-year-olds and younger. You can get a license online at the New Mexico Game and Fish website. 70 years of age or older your fishing license is free. I like free, don’t you? If you do have a fish for dinner and use the Fresh Chile Company products to enhance to dinner, take a picture and post it on the Fresh Chile Company Facebook page. You can be famous for your recipe.

A little New Mexico history: In 1540 Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, the Spanish explorer who founded New Mexico, described the greatest concern of the local population as the need for water. Of course he was in our area looking for gold and silver. He had numerous small battles and his worse injury, himself was falling off of his horse. His entire expedition was considered then and now to be a failure because he didn’t find the seven cities of gold that he had set out to find. So much for rumors, eh? He described people in New Mexico and that description holds even today. Even now we say that the People in New Mexico then and now were and are self-sufficient farmers, growing beans, corn, cotton, and squash on near the Rio Grande. The arid land was best used for pasture, and sheep thrived until well into the 20th century. Americans brought cattle from Texas, and the sale accounted for two-thirds of the total income from agriculture. Because water is still scarce, irrigated farming remains the most important form of agriculture which includes pecans, milk, sorghum, wheat, hay, Chile Peppers, and onions as important agricultural products.

We also have a strong connection to Washington DC money with military bases forming billions of dollars of revenue. We also have federal forests and federal lands including the White Sands Missile Range and Test Facility. What are we most noted for? Being the Chile Capital of the Whole World. Yes, we have the best Chile Peppers.

One thing is for sure: all Chile Peppers are not the same. Some have more or less taste heat than others, some taste a bit more sweet. Well now, the same is true with onions. And New Mexico State University is one of two universities that really researches the different varieties of onions. They do so for taste, ability to resist onion diseases and stuff tied to growing and harvesting the onions. So, there is a term that is used, Sweet Onions. Those are onions that are not as strong, not as pungent as other onions. Here in our area and for sale at the Fresh Chile Company are Sweet Onions that are also used in the development of Chile and Onion sauces. Have I tried this combination? Oh yes, and it is ever so great when I put it on Mashed Potatoes and also on steaks that I am grilling. Other uses of Sweet Onions I haven’t gotten to yet, but I will. About ten percent of the onions grown in our area are Sweet in nature meaning they are not as strong which is what some people like. Some people like me, that is.

Nu-Mex Sweet is a holding name for several that have high productivity, low pungency and are disease tolerant as compared to other onions. New Mexico State University researchers have been working on onions clear back to the days of Fabian Garcia in the 1920s who started many of the programs for Chile Peppers, Pecans and Onions. There are many competitors, and the onions are constantly being evaluated and adjustments made to make them the best for consumers and for use in commercial operations. Again, The Fresh Chile Company have the fresh Nu-Mex Sweet for sale and also, we are using these onions in other products such as a great onion dressing which will be released shortly. Enjoy.

Now when you think you have a long commute to go to work let me tell you about William Carr Lane. Don’t know him, why he was the second territorial governor of New Mexico. When he was appointed governor of the territory of New Mexico he was in St. Louis where he lived at the time. The only way to get to Santa Fe, his new job was by covered wagon. This was in 1852 before Cars, trains, buses, and airplanes. Covered wagon it was for 40 days. Doesn’t sound all that fast but he did about 20 miles a day at 14 hours a day of travel. Was he glad to get to Santa Fe? You bet, and he was a good governor. His predecessor, James Calhoun was ill much of his tenure and said he was going to take a vacation, but. Yes, there is a but, he was feeling so bad, how bad. He James Calhoun had a coffin made to take with him on his journey east, just in case. And he did die and was buried on the trail.

William Carr Lane was the first Mayor of St. Louis and the second territorial governor serving a year and then returning to his home in St. Louis. Glad he came and was a New Mexico Governor even if it took 40 days here and 40 days back home the next year.

Michael Swickard here with Enchanting Stories of New Mexico. What is coming with this 2023 Hatch Chile Harvest is that the Fresh Chile Company is offering a special reserve release of the Hatch Green Chile varietal Big Jim in a 16-ounce jar. Varietal means that this product will only be made with Big Jim Chile, which is sweet and has a medium heat level.

Big Jim is very popular in New Mexico restaurants & homes. In 1975, Big Jim was listed in The Guinness Book of World Records as having the largest Chile Pods, perfect for Chile Rellenos. It was developed by Chile Researcher Dr. Roy Nakayama at New Mexico State University. It is a hybrid of New Mexico Chile Peppers and a Peruvian pepper Nakayama and fellow researcher Jim Lytle combined. Big Jim is named for Jim Lytle who died unexpectedly at that time. I’m going to talk about Dr. Roy Nakayama on next Wednesday’s podcast.

One thing that happens when people live in Las Cruces or happen to be in our little slice of paradise. They can come by the Fresh Chile Company Gift Shop at 1160 El Paseo Rd, Suite D7A in Las Cruces, NM. It is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Now I need to tell you about some new products at the Fresh Chile Company that I find wonderful. There is a Local Honey with Hatch Red Chile that is great on biscuits. French fries are so much more with the Fresh Chile Company’s Hatchup which is ketchup and Hatch Red Chile. Come browse and there are many more surprises and also, there are some frozen surprises that I assure you are wonderful. Again from Monday to Saturday, the Fresh Chile Company Gift Shop at 1160 El Paseo Rd, Suite D7A in Las Cruces, NM. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This is Michael Swickard with Enchanting Stories of New Mexico brought to you by The Fresh Chile Company. Thank you for your time today. We will have lots of News and stories about New Mexico for you on these Podcasts, If you have something or someone you want me to talk about, 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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