Enchanting Stories of New Mexico - Episode 22 - Cowboy Cooking, Mountain Tales, and Hatch Festival Excitement

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Episode 22 - Cowboy Cooking, Mountain Tales, and Hatch Festival Excitement

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 us who work with Green and Red Chile, this is the best time of the year. Why Michael? Because we are in the harvest season of Hatch Chile, and we are heading for the 51st Hatch Chile Festival September first to the third this year. I’ll tell you more about this festival in a few minutes. Know this about me and my special relationship with Green and Red Chile.

For much of the time over the years I was one of those people to which Chile was essential all year long so that I made sure my freezer had lots of frozen Chile that I got fire-roasted and then put in my freezer so that in the cold winds of winter I could make Green Chile Stew that would make everyone in my family’s eyes water with delight.

However, I enjoy the Fresh Chile Company jars of Chile so much. How much? I don’t put up frozen Chile like I did all those many years. No, over the last few years I put the Fresh Chile Company jars in my pantry and when the desire for Green or Red Chile comes there is that happy sound of the jar opening that makes me smile. Something else is set to make me smile.

At the Hatch Chile Festival which starts the first three days of September over the Labor Day weekend. I am looking forward to seeing the renowned Cowboy Chef, Kent Rollins, making delicious things and telling lots of stories. Kent was born and raised along the banks of the Red River near Hollis, Oklahoma. Growing up, and throughout his adulthood, Kent helped his father manage cow/calf operations in the area while also taking care of their own herd.

But Cowboy Camp cooking was calling him. His first notice was when he was the camp cook in the Gila Wilderness area of New Mexico while helping to guide hunters in that area and making sure their meals were as excellent as the hunting. Then, as now, when he is taking care of a bunch of hungry Cowboys, he is up at 3 a.m. getting the Cowboy Coffee and Sourdough or Buttermilk biscuits going. Then he cooks a breakfast fit for a five-star Cowboy Restaurant of Elk or Mule Deer and all the trimmings.

He even bought an 1876 Studebaker Chuck Wagon, and he was off to the fame as a great cook. Today he has millions of fans on YouTube, where he has a popular channel and on Facebook along with being on many television shows including Bobby Flay.

So I am looking forward to seeing Kent in person. I have watched him on television show so long… how long… so long I think I know him personally and his lovey wife. They not only tell about Cowboy delicious cooking, they show how it is done and lots and lots of great cooking tips like how to make the fried chicken really crispy. And, this is important, it doesn’t just work for him. When I use his cooking methods, it even work for me. Come see him.

Here is a bit of know your New Mexico. Our little slice of paradise has six growing zones selected by elevation. The Lower Sonoran Zone in Southern New Mexico is below 4,500 feet and is the best grazing and farmland area. The Upper Sonoran Zone is about 70 percent of the rest of the state and is above 4500 feet so it is foothills and upper valley. You see prairie grasses, juniper shrubs and trees along with pinon pines. There is a transition Zone with Ponderosa Pine, a Canadian Zone above 8500 feet with Blue Spruce and also Douglas Fir though there has been some tree diseases that have hit those and the Arctic and Alpine zones above 9500 feet. If you are a hiker, you can ascend Wheeler Peak and Sierra Blanca, the two tallest mountains and go through most of the upper zones.

And speaking of New Mexico elevations, that is the divide for much of the state’s wildlife. In the areas above 6,000 feet you normally see Black Bears, Bighorn Sheep, Mule Deer, Mountain Lions, Bobcats, several varieties of owls, golden eagles, hawks, vultures, and several small varieties of muskrats. Below that elevation are coyotes, porcupines, skunks, foxes, jackrabbits, cottontail rabbits and antelopes. You also can find several varieties of snakes such as Bull Snakes, King Snakes, Corn Snakes, Gopher Snakes, Milk Snakes, Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes, Mojave Rattlesnakes, and Sonoran Coral Snakes.

Know this: there are no things that typically will kill you in the state other than falling off cliffs and a very enraged Mama Black Bears though that is quite unusual. There are several types of snakes that can startle you and perhaps you get injured running into a tree, but the Diamondback Rattlesnakes can make you ill, especially young children. There are also Black Widow Spiders and Brown Recluse which will make you ill, but it isn’t like in other areas such as Australia where there are snakes and spiders that just flat kill you quickly.

One last thing. The rattlesnakes rattle because they are trying to not get stepped on by cattle and other large animals. The pitch of the rattle is something cattle do not like. Evidently getting stepped on by a large cow is not something a rattlesnake wishes. And the snakes don’t want to bite you since you are too big to swallow, therefore, if they have venom such as a Rattlesnake, it is wasted venom that they want to use to get dinner such as mice, volls and rats. I have heard that only about 40 percent of rattlesnake bites inject venom, again because the snakes uses venom to eat and you are too big. But if they are excitable because say you are standing on them, then you get a full load which is best taken care of immediately at a hospital with anti-venom. Won’t kill you but can make you sick.

Good news. If you use the checkout code Podcast15 with your Fresh Chile Company, you get 15% off your order this week. Lots of good tasting Chile is 15 percent off at checkout.

Speaking of Good Chile this last week the Fresh Chile Company is processing Sandia Select, a tasty hot Green Chile in a 16-ounce jar. There is a smile every time you open one of these jars. When you want your food to be as hot as the weather, Sandia Select is a good choice.

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 in New Mexico – Good news, there is a Ladies Fly Fishing 101 Class @ Las Cruces New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Aug 19 @ 8:30 am – 4:30 pm This clinic is open to women of all ages living in the southern regions of New Mexico interested in learning the basics of fly fishing. Participants will learn the basic knowledge and skills needed to get them started on the water. Part I of the class students will learn about the equipment used for fly fishing, how to set up a fly rod and reel with leader, tippet and fly. The class will cover the different types of flies used for trout fishing, what they represent, knots to attach them, and some strategies and tactics to know when and how to fish them effectively. Part II will cover the basics of fly casting on the water, covering the two most important casts, overhead and roll at the Alumni Pond at New Mexico State University. This class will be offered by volunteers from the Gila and Rio Grande Chapters of Trout Unlimited.

Go to their website for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish to enjoy one of these clinics. Now, out-of-state anglers must purchase an annual fishing license, a one-day license or a five-day license. The fishing license in New Mexico year is April 1- March 31. The 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. If have a fish for dinner and use the Fresh Chile Company products to enhance it, take a picture and post it and recipe on the Fresh Chile Company Facebook page.

A little Chile news: Both Big Jim and Sandia Select Chile is being roasted at this time and will be available. They come in 16-ounce jars that cause a smile when you open them. 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. Those are onions that are not as strong, not as pungent as other onions. They are also used in the development of a new product at the Fresh Chile Company. It is Hatch Sweet Onion Dressing. Great on Mashed Potatoes and on steaks. 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. Use the checkout code Podcast15 to get 15% off your order this week.

Nu-Mex Sweet is a holding name for several onion varieties 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. Michael Swickard here with Enchanting Stories of New Mexico. 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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