- Exciting new crop of green chiles Local farmers are producing more and more green chile.
Green chiles have defined New Mexico for generations, gaining fans and fame around the globe.
However, as this year’s harvest begins, labor shortages, shrinking acreage, drought and foreign competition have hurt production in the state. Farmers and producers say the problems reveal the need for changes in the industry. To rejuvenate production, investors and inventors are testing machines that would harvest and de-stem the crop.
The delicate chiles are now picked by hand, and problems with bruising and the removal of stems have made it difficult to make the transition to machines. “The labor force is getting older and not a lot of young people are getting into the business,” said Ed Ogaz, owner of the Anthony, New Mexico-based chile wholesaler Seco Spice Co. “Something needs to happen.”