Many years ago the Native people and Indians did not have a defined border as we do now. If we go back a few hundred years many of these chiles were grown on both sides of our border.
Native American chiles are not just from Indian settlements or Pueblos. These Heirloom chile seeds have been passed down over the years from families of Spanish settlers, Mexican settlers and later American settlers. They were shared with other seeds of native melons, corn, beans and squash. These seeds were a legacy given to us. They are part of our heritage or our “Chile Heritage”. The media may focus on the most popular or World Record chile. But the greatness of a chile that has been around hundreds or maybe thousands of years is more important to me.
To grow a chile that was once possibly grown by the Toltecs, Mayans or Aztecs humbles me. Stop and think about that a moment! Most of these Native American chiles are not grown commercially. So many are becoming rare and even endangered. But if we make room for them in our garden and share with others we can preserve them. We can keep them from disappearing. But there is also a bonus in growing them! Even though many of them look similar their flavors are very diverse. I have had people do taste testing and watch their eyes go wide in amazement at the difference in flavor and also the depth of flavor. They also produce well and grow fast. The heat is mild in most of them. Only a few are hotter than say a Jalapeno. So you don’t have to have a high heat tolerance to enjoy them!
My goal in 2018 was to collect seeds of as many of these as possible and grow them so I could share them with gardeners all over the world. I don’t expect any of them to become top sellers in my catalog. But in my business it’s not always about profit. It’s about the passion and love of chiles and sharing that with the world. Seeing people experience flavors that amaze them. But most of all honoring the Chile legacy left to us by Native peoples by keeping their heritage alive by telling the world about them!