Enchanting Stories of New Mexico - Episode 24 - Quirky Ducks, Presidential Trees, and Sweet Chile Surprises

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 24 - Quirky Ducks, Presidential Trees, and Sweet Chile Surprises

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.

This week there is a new question: do you want a wet or a dry duck. Strange question but if on Thursday, August 24th you happen to be in Deming, New Mexico it is a question you will hear often. Wet or dry duck.

You see, 44 years ago, 1977 to be exact, there was an informal meeting of town leaders in Deming to talk about town concerns over drinks and cigars. According to an interview I did with a newspaper editor who either was there or closely tied to the meeting the subject was that thousands upon thousands of people went to Deming but didn’t stop. They were on Interstate 10 on their way to Arizona and California if going west and Texas if going east. What fun would cause them to stop and spend some bucks on… oh yes, ducks. It was the d in Deming and the d in ducks as to the duck races. Everyone loves the alliteration of Deming and ducks. My interviewee gave the off the cuff remark that if they were in Lordsburg with an l then who knows, it might have been llama races. I think he was just being funny.

So if you go to Deming to see the fast ducks you can rent a duck for a race either on dry land or water. I have gone and it is something that made me laugh a lot. Much fun is to be had in Deming this week. Only thing better is to enjoy the duck and eat some good Hatch Chile with your friends after the races.

A little New Mexico history: There are many tourists in these great tourist days in Southern New Mexico. One asked me if the little settlement of Garfield New Mexico was named for the Cartoon Cat, Garfield? No, long before Jim Davis in 1978 syndicated nationally Garfield, the cat, his owner Jon and Odie, the Dog, the little town was going strong. The Garfield post office was established in 1896 and the area was a prime growing area.

It was named to honor the 20th president of the United States who was unfortunately assassinated early in his term. He had the second shortest tenure in presidential history. But you need to know he was a very interesting person.

James Garfield was born in Ohio in 1831. He was the very last U. S. President to be born in a log cabin and was interested in becoming a sailor which did not happen. For one thing he never learned how to swim. But he did drive mules that pulled boats on the Erie Canal from Lake Erie to the Ohio River and said he fell into the water about sixteen times but made it to shore each time. He also contracted Malaria. He was always studious and so when to college and graduated in 1856 from Williams College a private college in Williamstown, Massachusetts, established by the Congregational Church in 1793. He specialized in ancient languages. He he studied law and was ordained a minister in the Disciples of Christ Church.

James Garfield was an early Republican just as the party was formed and served nine terms in Ohio’s 19th Congressional District. Lots more about him but back then office seekers were relentless chasing presidents asking for offices. On July 2, 1881 a disgruntled office seeker shot Garfield and this was before modern medicine so there was no protection from germs and the need to be sterile around the wound. Over 80 days Garfield got more and more ill and died September 19th he died. The martyred president was celebrated in the Hatch Valley by being named in the town of Garfield.

More New Mexico history. One New Mexico governor only served 32 days. That is because he finished New Mexico Governor Edwin Mechem’s term before newly elected governor Jack Campbell was sworn in January of 1963. Tom Bolack was the Lt. Governor. Sounds a bit confusing. U. S. Senator Dennis Chavez died in office so the governor of New Mexico had to appoint someone to serve the last two years of the senator’s term. So four term New Mexico governor Edwin Mechem resigned and his Lt. Governor became the New Mexico governor for 32 day, just long enough for then New Mexico Governor Tom Bolack to appoint Edwin Mechem to fulfill the Chavez U. S. Senatorial term.

But that is not what I think of when I think of Bolack. I think of him and his wife Alice who were both farmers and agriculturalists. They were researchers into new methods of growing trees and plants.

Alice Bolack was born this week in 1920. She died at age 93 in 1913. Tom Bolack and Alice were modern day Johnny Appleseeds in that they loved to plant trees. He was elected Mayor of Farmington, a very small town in 1952 that only had twenty feet of pavement, which he quickly changed and added an airport. He and Alice distributed thousands of trees and plants each year to town in New Mexico from the mid 50s to the 70s. Many shade trees you see in New Mexico public parks came from the Bolacks and their Farmington New Mexico ranch. The Bolacks didn’t move into the New Mexico Governor’s mansion when he briefly became the New Mexico Governor since it was only for 32 days. Instead, they commuted from their ranch home in Farmington. The ranch is the Bolack Museum of Fish and Wildlife with over four thousand stuffed animal including many rare species. The Tom Bolack Ruban Forest Park in Albuquerque is named in his honor and Alice was and is also named.

One more moment of New Mexico History. In July 1898 there was the Battle of San Juan Hill which included a number of volunteer soldiers from New Mexico. They joined in the spring of the year The Rough Riders. That was the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, one of three such regiments raised in 1898 to fight in the Spanish American War and the only who saw combat. To be in the unit you needed to be fit and able to ride horses and fight. That was a great challenge that many New Mexicans met. One was the smallest member of the class of 1898 in what is now New Mexico State University.

Eugene Casey was his name and he joined up where he was given a clerical job in the regiment and sadly, he caught yellow fever and died in September of 1898, the only New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts, now NMSU graduate to die in the Spanish American War.

In 1973 Frank C. Brito who was from Las Cruces, New Mexico was one of only three of the Rough Riders left alive. He was a member of H Troop and later was a mining engineer and a lawman. He died the 22nd of April 1973 at the age of 96.

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. 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. 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.

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.

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. This Hatch Sweet Onion Dressing is so very good, words are not enough, you must try it. Use checkout code Podcast15 to get 15% off your order this week.

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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