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Episode 2 - The Resilient Legends
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.
On the last Podcast I was talking about the five New Mexico counties that were named for United States Presidents. One of them was Roosevelt County, named for Teddy Roosevelt who recruited New Mexicans for his Rough Riders group in the Spanish American War. I mentioned the five presidents of which two, Lincoln and McKinley were assassinated while in office. A listener reminded me of an unusual assassination attempt on Teddy Roosevelt.
After Teddy Roosevelt served his two terms, he endorsed William Howard Taft, his Secretary of State, and Taft won in 1908. Roosevelt was not satisfied with Taft as president so threw his hat into the ring for the 1912 election. While on the campaign trail in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in October 1912 a man shot Roosevelt from seven feet. The bullet struck Roosevelt’s 50-page speech which slowed it down. Roosevelt went on to speak saying he was as healthy as a Bull Moose, that is where his label came from. He wasn’t coughing blood so knew it didn’t get his lungs and while the blood seeped, he spoke for 90 minutes before going to the hospital where it was determined to leave the bullet just in the chest for the rest of his life.
Speaking of people connected to New Mexico who were shot, I want to talk about television actor Dan Blocker. He was Hoss on the hit show Bonanza. Why commemorate Dan Blocker who passed 51 years ago this week? Did you know that the very same Bobby Dan Davis Blocker was a sixth-grade teacher for the Carlsbad New Mexico Municipal Schools District?
It is true that in 1955 Dan Blocker was a teacher and coach at Eddy Elementary in Carlsbad New Mexico. The school is no longer used as an elementary school, I think it is a support facility for the teachers. But there is far more to the Dan Blocker story. Speaking of getting shot, he was also an Infantry Sergeant during the Korean War. He was in F Company, 2nd battalion, 179 Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division in Korea in 1951 and 1952 and was awarded a Purple Heart for wounds received in combat.
He and his wife Dolphia relocated to Los Angeles where he started his acting career. His big break came on the hit NBC television series, Bonanza where he was selected to play the part of one of the Cartwright sons, Eric but was known as Hoss. He was in 415 episodes until his untimely death in May, 51 years ago this week. I still watch old episodes of Bonanza.
This is Michael Swickard with The Fresh Chile Company Podcast brought to you by The Fresh Chile Company. Speaking of history, we are coming up on the 169th anniversary of The Gadsden Purchase where the United States purchased about 30 thousand square miles of what is now Southern New Mexico and Southern Arizona from Mexico to straighten out the border and allow in the 1880s a southern railroad from the East to the West of our country. June 8 is the date for celebration. I think some good Fresh Chile Company Chile in a celebratory dish is in order. Me, I’m going for the Mama’s Salsa with cheese Nachos. So good.
Speaking of celebrating, Carlsbad Caverns National Park was created and formed by Executive Order at this time in 1930. There are two historic districts on the National Register of Historic Places: the Cavern Historic District and the Rattlesnake Springs Historic District. It is a great place to visit. Reservations are required and even though it may be hot at the entrance, prepare for several hours in 58-degree weather underground. There is also the ability to see lots and lots of Bats at certain times of the day. And I personally would recommend comfortable closed toe shoes with lots of traction, not flip flops.
If you drive by the Chile fields in Hatch New Mexico, you will see that the Chile Pepper Plants are up and doing well. Come late July the Harvest will begin and run continuously from Green Peppers early on to Red Peppers up until the first frost which is usually in early November.
The Chile Farmer we work with is Scott Adams, a fourth-generation Hatch Valley farmer who has two grandkids working with him which makes them 6th generation farmers. Without farmers and ranchers, we would not have anything to eat. You need a lawyer occasionally; you occasionally need and engineer or doctor but you need farmers and ranchers three times a day.
According to the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, fishing is fair this week Bill Evans Lake, located approximately eight miles south of Cliff, New Mexico southwest of Silver City, is now open to the public as work to improve boater access and fishing opportunities nears completion. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish installed a new boat ramp and fishing access points, as well as improved road access on the north side of the lake. The new boat ramp will remain closed until the water level comes up enough for boats to launch safely – likely in June.
Good news is that the water level in Elephant Butte Dam is double what it was a year ago, so all the winter snow is having an effect. The lake was only 13 percent full a year ago and is 26.3 percent full now. Besides more water for Agriculture, it is good for boaters and fishing.
Speaking of Agriculture and History, it was March 16, 1949, that the New Mexico Legislature officially adopted the Piñon Pine as the State Tree. While delightful to look at, there is another bounty which is Piñon nuts which are delicious.
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.
Here is one of the Recipes on the Fresh Chile Company website. It is Hatch Chile French Fries. It is inspired by Ethan Chlebowski.
The Prep Time is 20 minutes. Cooking time 1 hour 15 minutes. Serves 5 and is 270 calories.
Fresh Chile Company Hatchup, Spicy Hatch Red Chile Ketchup, Hatch Table Seasoning, six Medium Russet Potatoes, 1 tbsp of Vinegar, 32 oz Olive Oil, Salt to taste.
- Boil a pot of water on medium high heat;
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees;
- Peel potatoes and then slice into on half inch sheets before cutting into on half inch fries.
- Add vinegar and pinch of salt to boiling water; add potatoes and set timer for 8 minutes.
- Pour fries into a colander and let excess steam evaporate.
- Pour olive oil over fries on a large baking sheet. Combine the fries and toss them about so the oil completely coats each one; have a thin layer of extra oil on the pan;
- Put Pan in oven for 15 minutes and then flip the fries over with spatula.
- If they seem dry, drizzle more olive oil and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes. They should be somewhat browned and crispy. Could take longer if not crispy.
- Put paper towel in bowl to absorb excess oil from fries and sprinkle with salt and Hatch Table Seasoning. Put a bowl of Hatchup on table to dip fries into. Yum.
Talking about Southern New Mexico, One day I interviewed a man who came to Las Cruces from Michigan. I asked him what brought him to our little slice of paradise. He said when he was in Michigan it snowed one hundred days in a row and the man snapped. He told me that he had tied a snow shovel to the top of his car and drove south and west looking for a special town.
When someone in Las Cruces looked up and asked him, “Say, Buddy, what is that thing on top of your car?” he knew he was where he wanted to live because people here do not know what a snow shovel is. We have very little snow. The bonus is he loves Hatch Green and Red Chile.
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, everyone remember: 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 to school lunches and those in need in our community.
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: email@example.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.