New Mexico

Heavy rains threaten Hatch chile crops

Hatch crops

HATCH, New Mexico - It’s the most famous crop in our region: Hatch green chiles. The rains the borderland has been enjoying recently haven’t been as great for chile farmers in New Mexico, too much rain could threaten and ruin the crops.

The soil has had some chances to dry out, something farmers ABC-7 spoke with say could save their crops.

As Hatch chile is being roasted and sold, entire crops sit in the fields waiting to be harvested, but recent heavy rains could threaten the future of the harvest.

Hatch Farmer Pete Atencio has been been on edge with the downpours.

“The worst thing that can happen is for it to rain on a wet field,  it’ll make for a lot of fungus and it’ll start killing the plant,” Atencio said.

The harvest season lasts for months, all the way until October. It’s a lot of time for farmers to pick what they’ve grown, even with dark clouds over their heads.

“The plant it’lll turn yellowish and stop producing chiles, it’ll turn what chiles it has red faster than it should...whenever you see a light colored chile plant that’s not good, you want a deep green plant,” said Atencio.

The rains are worst when they’re back to back. As long as the soil has a chance to dry in between there’s hope.

“It was kinda scary, but luckily it dried up and the plants look healthy and good, so we should be ok,” ATencio explained.

The Hatch Chile Festival is on for next month, it’ll be September second and third.

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