‘Tis the season
It’s every New Mexican’s favorite time of year: green chile season. As the smoky tang of the roasting peppers wafts throughout the city, I invite you to take a moment to think about the complicated life of New Mexico’s pride and joy. According to the New Mexico Chile Association, in the early ’90s New Mexico chiles (jalapeños, red and green chile) enjoyed vast amounts of acreage at an all-time high of 34,500 harvested acres. But last year, only 9,600 acres were yielded due to a number of factors, including competition from foreign markets such as China and Mexico. The industry also suffers from a current lack of field laborers because of stricter immigration laws that have cut back on the main group of chile harvesters—Mexican immigrants. There are some bright spots in the field, however. Demand for New Mexico chile, green in particular, is healthy. National attention from publications such as Esquire and USA Today has helped make green chile a hot commodity. And the ever-present New Mexican desire for the pepper in stews, over eggs, with tortillas, in burritos, brewed in beer, and countless other iterations will hopefully keep New Mexico’s chile in the green, for now.
According to the New Mexico Chile Association, in the early ’90s New Mexico chiles (jalapeños, red and green chile) enjoyed vast amounts of acreage at an all-time high of 34,500 harvested acres. But last year, only 9,600 acres were yielded
Top of the tapas
According to an article in Albuquerque Business First, Hotel Andaluz’ award-winning Downtown restaurant, Lucia, will be replaced with a new restaurant sometime in October. MÁS will be a full-service Spanish restaurant and tapas bar. Along with a new concept, the restaurant will also welcome a new head chef, James Campbell Caruso. Caruso, a five-time James Beard Award nominee and the well-known owner and chef of Santa Fe restaurants La Boca and Taberna, said “[Andaluz is] a stunning property, and I appreciate their commitment to history and sustainability. I am thrilled to lead the charge on a restaurant that is befitting a hotel of this caliber.”’
Federal food cuts feared
Around 442,000 New Mexican families will see a reduction in their household finances when extra benefits in the nationwide Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), expire on Nov. 1. SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, provides financial aid towards food purchases for low-income families. According to the advocacy agency New Mexico Voices for Children, 42 percent of children in New Mexico receive SNAP benefits, all of whom will be affected by the November cut.
This news comes on top of a report that found New Mexico has the highest rate of child hunger in the nation. An employee of the Roadrunner Food Bank predicts that New Mexico families will be using state agencies with growing frequency to fulfill their food needs. The cut, a loss of $47 million in New Mexico alone, will lower benefits by $29 per month for a household of three people. The current maximum allotment is $526 for a three-person household. A number of Albuquerque convenience stores, groceries and growers’ markets accept SNAP funds.