What is a Hatch Chile Pepper?
There actually is no chile pepper variety named Hatch. The name indicates the area where the chile peppers are grown. The town of Hatch, New Mexico is located about 40 miles north of New Mexico State University, the home of the Chile Pepper Institute. This New Mexican pod type was first commercially grown in the Hatch Valley and eventually spread to other areas around New Mexico. Varieties that fall under the New Mexican pod type include: NuMex Big Jim, NuMex Joe E. Parker, NuMex Conquistador, Espanola Improved, Sandia, Anaheim, and New Mexico 6-4. Any one of these varieties may be found in a grocery store or farmers’ market labeled as ‘Hatch’ chile. Also to be labeled as a Hatch chile pepper, the pepper must have been grown in New Mexico.
Fabian Garcia was one of five members of the first graduating class of New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in 1894. During his work with the Agriculture Experiment Station he developed the first New Mexican pod type or long green New Mexican chile pepper. In 1921 he developed the New Mexico No. 9 which became the standard chile variety for the next 30 years.