Enchanting Stories of New Mexico - Episode 38 - Lost Legends and Hidden Treasures of 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 38 - Lost Legends and Hidden Treasures of New Mexico

Michael Swickard here. Welcome to Enchanting Stories of New Mexico sponsored by the Fresh Chile Company in Las Cruces. Our award-winning Hatch Green and Red Chile is from locally owned farms in Hatch, NM, The Chile Capital of the World. Today is World Green and Red Chile Day. It runs January 1st to December 31st each year. Every day is Chile Day.

Last Monday I wrote about some lost gold coins up by Blanco, New Mexico that still have not been recovered. Gold coins, just waiting for someone to find them though they have been that way for 150 years. That caused several listeners to send their lost gold stories. It reminds me of a Mark Twain novel in 1892, The American Claimant, where Mulberry Sellers had the line that was repeated for generations about California, “There’s gold in them thar hills, there’s millions in it.” Basically, it was true about the California Gold Fields. But it also might be true about gold in the hills of New Mexico. You see, we have many legends of found gold mines that for one reason or another were lost and never found again. So there is supposedly all that gold just sitting there in the hills of New Mexico waiting for someone to find it again. As a young boy I read about the lost New Mexico gold area near Reserve New Mexico. It was in J. Frank Dobie’s Apache Gold and Yaqui Silver, which I read in 1965. He had 26 books about the Southwest in his lifetime, and I’ve read most of them. Heck, I was 15 at the time and I dreamed that there was never yet found gold somewhere on my Grandfather’s ranch 16 miles south of Carrizozo, New Mexico. But it never happened. I looked diligently for it.

The Lost Adams Diggins is a story about lots and lots of gold found and mined for a small amount of time and then the miners were all killed but for a couple miners who got away and who years later tried to find the mine. The gold area it appears had been worked when the Spanish ran New Mexico and then they left the gold and even a Spanish cannon. The story was somewhat told as a novel and then movie. The novel by Will Henry, real name Heck Allen, was published in 1963 and contains the legend of the Lost Adams Diggins. It is an old legend of a fortune in Gold in a Canyon of Gold guarded by Apache spirits in Southwestern New Mexico. The movie made later had an all-star cast starring Gregory Peck, Omar Sharif, Telly Savalas, Keenan Wynn, Lee J. Cobb, Raymond Massey, Burgess Meredith, Edward G. Robinson, Eli Wallach, and others. New Mexicans sat up and took notice. I will speak of this in greater depth next Wednesday, when I concentrate on New Mexico people. Stay tuned.

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.

I just want to mention that the Annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is in full swing in Albuquerque. It ends Sunday the 15th so there is still time to go see the hot-air balloons. This is the 51st fiesta and as chance would have it, I was at the first and second Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta which was held in February of 72 and 73. It later moved to October but originally it was a February fiesta. I believe there were nine balloons the first year and 13 the second. That second year I helped crew a balloon from Canada. For the longest time it seemed that the Balloon Fiesta was the driving force for Kodak color film being sold and processed in our little slice of paradise. I certainly have many pictures. And from very small beginnings in the early 1970s, over the 51 years it has become an International event.

Kind of some sad thoughts yesterday and today. It was at this time in 1997 that people were saddened to learn that the folk musician known as John Denver was killed in an airplane accident at age 53. I was one of the people saddened because I really appreciated his talent, and I often sang some of his songs. And, he is listed as being born in Roswell, New Mexico, actually at Walker Air Force Base next to Roswell on New Year Eve of 1943. Me, I was born seven years later at Holloman Air Force Base next to Alamogordo, New Mexico. And we both, as youngsters, moved many times because every few years our fathers were transferred to a different Air Force Base. And he was a great guitar player and songwriter. Me, I wrote a few songs and played guitar but I had enormous interest in performing as a folk musician and moderate at best talent so that is where we diverged, he was really talented.

Now, about that name John Denver. Well now, he started life with the name: Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr., the son of Army Air Corp Colonel Henry John Deutschendorf, Sr. who was a pilot and had command responsibilities at Walker Air Force Base at the time of John’s birth. When John started his music career, the dean of folk music at the time in California, Randy Sparks appreciated his talent and told him that Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. was just a bit too long to be put on theater signs. He should pick a shorter name. One thing about his love of the Colorado mountains led to him selecting Denver, John Denver, and he even moved from Minnesota to Colorado where he lived the rest of his life. Like his father he was a pilot and was killed in an airplane he had just bought. It is sad. Gone too soon.

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.

I was talking the other day about small New Mexico towns and was asked if I had ever been to the New Mexico town of Toadlena. Nope, did some work about ten miles east of Toadlena for the school system in Newcomb, New Mexico which is about sixty miles north of Gallup but never ran out to the Toadlena Trading Post which is quite famous. Navajo rug trader Mark Winter was the one that reopened the Toadlena Trading Post in the summer of 1997. He negotiated with the local tribe for the permit and did extensive remodeling to produce the original look and character of the Trading Post building. Now for the last 26 years it has served the needs of the local residents with groceries and propane along with being the local bank and local post office. And to support all of this good for the local community it is a destination for tourists who embrace the local culture.

Tourists really like the authentic nature of the silver and turquoise jewelry, tapestries, and the authentically woven rugs. In this part of Northwestern New Mexico, the Trading Post functions much like it did one hundred years ago. It works with weavers from seven trading posts so that when sheep are sheared and the wool is ready for weaving, the artisans go to work much like their relatives did years and years ago. Unlike some other areas of New Mexico which offer rugs and jewelry which, how shall I say, might not have the background in the real authentic goods, there is no question that the artistry and ability of these artists are in a class of their own. It is worth a trip sixty miles north of Gallup.

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.

One thing visitors to our area notice are the Pecan orchards. Mile and miles of pecan trees that each year bring in about 190 million dollars. But these Pecan trees are not native to New Mexico. But they appreciate New Mexico’s weather since some varieties need about 200 days without frost. Same is true of Chile which is what I think about a lot of the time. Some of the original pecan trees that were brought to our area are still alive. In fact, the one considered the largest pecan tree in the state grows near Mesilla, New Mexico. Dr. Fabian Garcia and the Agricultural Experiment Station in 1913 started looking at the commercial value of pecans. Four acres were planted and then with the success of these trees, more were to follow. The late Deanne Stahmann started with 30 acres on the Snow Ranch, south of Las Cruces in 1934 and 1935. Now it is miles and miles and often a new field of pecan trees is popping up. It was all because in the 1960s other farmers saw the returns from the Stahmann’s productive trees.

New Mexico pecans go all over the world and the demand for pecans is on the increase. There are three shelling plants to work with the pecans in the Western states: California has one, Arizona has one and Las Cruces has one. There is another shelling plant in Juarez, Mexico. Right now there is more that 60 thousand acres of pecans in the western part of our country.

Boy, that makes me hungry thinking about the Chile and Onions and Pecans that come from our growing area. I really appreciate the generations of farmers in Hatch New Mexico that have enabled Chile with an e to be a household taste. Speaking of Sun-Dried Hatch Red Chile, it is one of the best tastes of the Fresh Chile Company. Now with it getting more into the Fall and the nice taste on a cooler day of Posole, well now if you are making posole, this Sun-Dried Hatch Red Chile is what brings out the best taste of New Mexico.

The Fresh Chile Company has a new product that can take a good Hotdog and make it Extraordinarily Great. It is a taste sensation which combines Mustard, Pickle Relish, Medium heat Jalapeño and Sweet Onions. This condiment in a jar has lots of flavor and a very nice kick to it with medium heat Jalapeño. The name you will find in the Fresh Chile Company website is Hatch Jalapeño Mustard Relish.

One more thing that is great about The Fresh Chile Company. It has Freeze-Dried Hatch Green Chile in 3, 6, and 12 packs. What I like about the Freeze-Dried is that no refrigeration is needed. It is so convenient, especially for people hiking. I really like this product and it really takes flavor of dips and sauces to the max.

One more taste delight. It is called the Game Day bundle. It involves Hatchup, Sweet and Spicy Mustard and Sweet and Spicy BBQ. These three sauces will really pick up the game day grilling and eating. For people who like French fries with catsup, wait until you use some Hatchup which is Hatch Red Chile with catsup. It is ever so good and tasty. The Red Chile has just enough kick to really improve all kinds of treats.

One thing that happens when people live in Las Cruces or is in our 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. Come by the Fresh Chile Company Gift Shop. There is a big sign over the entrance saying The Fresh Chile Company.

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 as long as it is Hatch Valley Chile.” Bye for now.

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