Story by Cathy Cook, El Defensor Chieftain Editor

The aroma of roasting chile filled the air at Saturday’s Chile Taste-Off.

Five Star Chile of Lemitar won first place for green chile, while Socorro’s Rosales Farms took home first for red chile. Viramontes Farms and Homegrown Market out of Deming was named second best green chile in New Mexico. Five Star Chile took home second place for red chile.

Linda Rosales of Rosales Farms was crowned 2021 Chile Queen.

With the lack of water, it has been a difficult year for chile farmers, said Rosales. When the water finally came, then it became a challenge to manage the weeds.

Daryl Candelaria and Gerren Candelaria from Wind Mesa Farms participated in the Chile Taste-Off for the first time this year and were able to sell all the produce they brought. They wanted to represent the farms farther north, where the chile tends to be sweeter and spicier, said Daryl Candelaria.

“We want to let everyone know we still farm too,” he said.

The New Mexico Chile Association plans to hold the festival in Socorro again next year.

“We’re very thankful for the city of Socorro and Socorro County for hosting the event for us and putting it on,” said Joram Robbs, Executive Diretor of the NM Chile Association.  “Thank you to all of the farmers throughout the entire state that came out to Chile Fest this year.”

The fireworks display was donated by Aimone-Martin Associates.