Green chile on fries at Blake's Lotaburger...
Green chile on fries at Blake's Lotaburger...

New Mexico Finally Getting Around to Defending Its Chiles from Imposters

That legendary chronicler of the American Southwest, Charles Fletcher Lummis, liked to refer to New Mexico as the Land of Poco Tiempo, and while the term is really a bunch of fantasy-heritage hooey, there's a certain point behind it. Time in the Land of Enchantment travels slow, which is why I'm finally discovering that the state, back in April, passed a law asserting that only chiles grown in New Mexico can be advertised as New Mexico chiles.

But that may not be enough to defend the legendarily fleshy, delicious pods from cheap imitators.

The law--called the New Mexico Chile Advertising Act--takes effect in July, but the El Paso Times noted over the weekend that the law really doesn't have much teeth. Even worse, it seems no one in the state has enough money to pay the appropriate fees to get New Mexico chiles trademark protection like, say, Washington apples or Vidalia onions. Instead, it seems like a last-gasp effort by the state's chile producers to save their product from the ravages of globalization and development, an issue we, of course, went through with our orange groves during the 1950s through today. The more things change...

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