Enchanting Stories of New Mexico - Episode 4 - Chile, Caverns, and Cowboys

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 4 - Chile, Caverns, and Cowboys

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.

This is from Randy McMillan, owner of The Fresh Chile Company: he shared a video of his recent trip to Hatch, New Mexico, to see the Chile fields. Unfortunately, the hail had hit them the previous week, but the plants looked resilient. Most of the plants showed 10-12 pods starting to break out! he spoke with the farmers, and they are expecting a great crop of Charger & G76 for your fresh peppers and favorite Fresh Chile products.

Randy is excited to offer a deal on Pure Hatch Green Chile, Fresh Red Chile, Sun-Dried Chile, and Red Chile Roast to make space in our warehouse. If you buy a 3, 6, or 12-pack, you can get them for just $6 a jar. Stock up now on your favorite Fresh Chile products.

An interesting person in New Mexico is Dr. Fabián García, the first researcher at what is now New Mexico State University who in 1913 released New Mexico 9, a milder tasting Chile pepper than what was for sale at that time. With a flood of new residents coming to New Mexico, the normal Chile was too hot initially, so work was done to tone it down a little. On the podcast Wednesday, I will spend my time helping you get to know the history of this great man and how he changed for the better the agriculture of New Mexico. Remember, this was at the same time that the Rio Grande Project created Elephant Butte Lake and all the agricultural benefits of that water for farming as Dr. Fabian Garcia was creating commercial crops.

We want to congratulate our neighbors in Carlsbad, New Mexico on the 93rd anniversary of Carlsbad Caverns being a National Park by an act of Congress. I was asked after a previous podcast how it happened. How did the Carlsbad Caverns get discovered? It was a 19-year-old Cowboy named Jim White in 1901 who was riding back to a cattle camp one evening and saw what looked like smoke. He went to see. To his amazement it turned out to be thousands of bats flying out of the ground. However, when he told the story back at camp he was not believed. He came back and discovered an entrance to the cave system. He got a kerosene lamp, some wire and branches and fashioned a ladder down an entrance and discovered the incredible caverns. No one back at camp would believe him. Finally, a few came and became believers.

Initially, the Caverns were a rich source of fertilizer because of the bat droppings but there was also a huge interest as a tourist destination that finally made it a National Park.

You too can explore the caverns. It does take a registration and a jacket. While it is hot at the entrance the temperature in the caverns is a steady 58 degrees and it does take non-slip shoes. As you drive to the Caverns you go through White City. Know this: it was not named for Cowboy Jim White who discovered the caverns. This town was named for an unrelated businessman Charles White who saw the tourist opportunity and built the tourist stop.

New Mexico is tied to Green and Red Chile for all to enjoy from the Hatch Valley Chile fields. That is Chile with an e as in Hatch Green Chile. I’m not talking about Chili with an I, like the Chili con Carne. And not Chilly with a Y, like winter in Minnesota. Hatch Chiles are Chile Pepper varieties commercially cultivated in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico. Hatch Chile.

Did you know that in 1876 at this time Southern New Mexico and Las Cruces stepped into the modern world when the nationwide telegraph system reached Las Cruces. Then news from all over the world was daily instead of sometimes taking a couple of weeks. Like the election of 1872 was a mystery to people outside of the telegraph area for weeks. Telegraphy, the operating of the telegraph system, was a modern occupation for many years.

My grandmother, Frieda Greenberg (later McKim when she married my grandfather, Eugene) was a one room school teacher in the Cloudcroft area in 1908. In her technology lessons, yes that was part of reading writing and arithmetic along with technology was typing on an Underwood Number 5 typewriter and operating a railroad telegraph sounder. Students were modern coming out of her school room with technical skills that could get a job. Of course she taught Morse code. She and her sister Kathryn a few years later taught at the large eight room school in White Oaks, New Mexico. Typing and using the telegraph sounder were part of the instruction at that school also. I have an old Underwood Typewriter and telegraph sounder.

According to the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Anglers can find a variety of warm-water species, including largemouth and smallmouth bass, walleye, white bass, catfish, bluegills, perch and pike in NM lakes and reservoirs; as well as a variety of trout species in lakes, rivers and streams throughout the state.

This is important, Angler Education Fishing Clinics offer basic fishing-skills clinics for school kids, families, community and civic groups. You can look on the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish website for the link for this instruction in fishing.

If you have fresh caught fish, a few spices and lots of good Green Chile it will make for a great dinner. Take a picture and 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 by Chris Lang a Fresh Chile Company partner and owner of The Organ Mountain Outfitters.

Hatch Chile Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time: 15 - 20 Minutes Total Time: 25 - 30 Minutes

Serves: 6 - 10 Servings

Calories: 745 Calories Per Serving

Ingredients: 6 large Potatoes - 2 sticks butter - 1 Tbsp Parsley flakes - 1 Tbsp garlic powder - 1 1/2- 2 cups grated asadero cheese - 1 tsp Salt - ¼ cup Chicken broth - ¼ to 1 cup of Milk for consistency - 1 tbsp Hatch Red Chile Table Seasoning - ½ - 1 Jar Hatch Red & Green Chile Sauce


In a large bowl, bring water to a boil. While the water is boiling, wash, peel (if desired), and cube the potatoes. Once the water has reached a boil, cook the potatoes for about 15 - 20 minutes. Once the potatoes become tender, drain and add cheese and butter on the hot potatoes. Add spices, ½ - 1 Jar of Hatch Red & Green Chile Sauce, and ¼ cup chicken broth, then mash together. Add in milk as needed until you get to the desired consistency. Cheesy Mashed Potatoes are best served HOT.

One last western story. There was a mystery tied to a Western Lawman, Bat Masterson. His full name was Bartholomew William Barclay Masterson. He had a colorful history as a gunfighter and Sheriff in Dodge City, Kansas. In his lawman role he was in several shootouts.

In the 1950s Hollywood made a Black and White half-hour Television series using his name and fictionalized scripts. The 108 episodes were well received. Gene Barry was the star.

The real Masterson moved to Denver after Dodge City and over several years became a writer on prizefighting. In 1902, he moved to New York City as a sports columnist in a newspaper. Now here’s the strange information. Long after his death in 1921 at age 68, historians and firearm collectors were surprised by how many pistols people had that they swore was Bat Masterson’s pistol. He had sold them his prized old west pistol. I don’t have an exact number.

Turns out that as a celebrity and writer in New York City people kept asking him to sell them one of his Old West Pistols. He had a bright idea. Can you see it coming? He regularly went to pawn shops and bought old six shooters. Didn’t matter whether they worked or not. Long as they had the hardware, he could carve some notches in the handle to indicate gunfights and reluctantly, so to speak, he would sell his prized pistol for cash. Many many families had an Old West Bat Masterson gun. There was a little humor in their purchase. Overall, though, it was an important collector’s item since it really did come from THE Bat Masterson.

One thing that happens when people live in or visit Las Cruces. They can come by the Fresh Chile Company Gift Shop 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.

If you are living far enough away to ship: 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 school lunches and much more to those in need in our community. A great organization.

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 these Podcasts.

If you have something you would like me to talk about in a future podcast 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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