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Hatch chile refers to varieties of species of the genus Capsicum which are grown in the Hatch Valley, an area stretching north and south along the Rio Grande from Arrey, New Mexico, in the north to Tonuco Mountain to the south of Hatch, New Mexico. Most of the varieties of chile cultivated in the Hatch Valley have been developed at New Mexico State University over the last 130 years.
When ripe these peppers turn red and may also be referred to by the name chile Colorado.
New Mexico peppers range in heat from very mild varieties such as NM 6-4 to varieties which are much spicier than jalapeños, such as NuMex Barker or Lumbre.
Hatch chile can be purchased locally in many parts of the Southwest, but distribution outside of the region is limited. This has led to direct marketing by local farms online such as the Hatch Chile Express or the Hatch Chile Store. Other distributors sometimes use the name, but do not actually grow and process their chile in the Hatch Valley..
The soil and growing conditions in the Hatch Valley create a unique terroir which contributes to the flavor of chile grown there.