Most of the Red and Green Chile grown in the Southwest is of the "Anaheim" variety. Chimayo Chile comes from a less common strain of pepper, Capsicum annuum Chimayo, which has adapted over generations to live in the dry and arid climate of the high plains of New Mexico. The distinct flavor of this highly prized chile results partly from its unique genetic make up!
Clean Water from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains
The village of Chimayo is nestled in the foothills of Northern New Mexico's Sangre de Cristo Mountains ("Sangres"). The clean rain and snow that fall on the Sangres turn into runoff which percolates down through the mountain-side and into the the unspoiled aquifers of Chimayo. There can be no doubt that the fresh and pure waters used to grow chile in Chimayo must contribute to the quality of this world-famous fruit.
Generations of Expertise
The people who live in Chimayo, New Mexico have been farming this strain of chile for over four hundred years. The plant has become part of the people. These "Chimayosos" have developed into a culture that eats, sleeps, and breathes chile...they "know" chile. Consequently they grow a chile of superb flavor and perfect balance.
Actually, yes! The "Santuario de Chimayo" at Chimayo is considered to be a holy place by local Christians and people of other faiths from all over the world. Every year on Good Friday, thousands of pilgrims converge at the Santuario to express their faith, pray for loved ones, and collect some "Holy Dirt" which can be found inside the church. It is said that this divine dirt has miraculous healing properties. Could it be that the secret to the flavor and quality of Chimayo's chile might come from the valley's sacred soil?
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