Jhett, the 4th generation owner of Farmers Chile Market

My name is Jhett Kendall Browne. I speak fluent Chinese and Japanese, intermediate Vietnamese, and basic Spanish. I’ve lived in and explored a lot of different countries, always looking for different flavors. That being said, I’ve always come back to New Mexican food. New Mexico isn’t the most famous state, but our food is well known for good reason. If it wasn’t good, I wouldn’t put so much effort into gardening and growing chile in so many different countries.

My history with chile

I started roasting chile in 2002, when I was 12 years old. Since then, I have taken part in roasting chile for 15 seasons. I’ve been tying ristras for a long time too, but I don’t tie them that much in recent years, as I am far too busy at my chile stand for that. In addition to being a chile roaster, I have stayed in food related businesses for pretty much all of my adult life. I spent a few years as a private chef in Taiwan. During this time, I also grew a lot of New Mexico chile on my roof, using seeds I brought over in a suitcase. I grew a lot of Big Jim and Sandia chile, roasting them with a hand-held blowtorch. I brought the tradition of New Mexico with me, I also grew a decent amount of superhots that I made fermented hotsauces with. I also learned a lot about gardening while doing guerilla gardening on rooftops. Check out my guide to growing chile if you don’t believe me!

I believe that my background gives me a unique ability to understand chile vs other chile roasters in Albuquerque. I train our chile roasters every year with a deep explanation of every single step of the roasting process based on food science. Furthermore, I make sure they know the importance of every single step, and WHY we roast chile the way we do. Training in this way is an important aspect of our quality control that I ensure. I guarantee that we won’t be like the grocery stores who throw some rookie out on the roaster without any real training. We are professionals at all things Hatch chile, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My history as a chef

While I was working at a country club in 2015 to 2016, I frequently worked in the kitchen to help expedite orders, in addition to occasionally pinch hitting on certain stations when people didn’t show up. Although I have been cooking for about the same time as I have been roasting chile, this was my first experience with cooking in a professional setting. After leaving this job, I lived in Taiwan for nearly four years. During this time, I worked as a private chef, and would frequently host Latin events where I would teach people how to make Mexican food and cocktails. Through these events and networking events, I built up my reputation and did many cooking classes, private dinners, and more. Through these events, I was able to show the unique flavors of New Mexico chile with my homegrown and home roasted chile. At one of them, I even tied some fresh chile ristras, but I never grew enough chile to do this more than a few times.

My history with beer and fermentation

I started homebrewing about ten years ago. I really loved it as a hobby, and wanted to embrace and promote a positive beer culture wherever I was. I also have done plenty of other fermentation projects, such as natto, miso, kimchi, and many other koji or lactic fermentations using grains, vegetables, and more. I lived in Vietnam during covid, and during this time, I ran a beer blog which primarily talked about beers I liked. I also did many events where we would brew beer using the most basic equipment possible. My primary reasoning for this was to show people that you don’t need thousands of dollars of brewing equipment in order to brew decent beer. In Vietnam, all it takes is about $50 to start brewing, which is much more approachable to average people there.

This website is 100% done by me

With the exception of a small amount of stock photography, I have taken every picture and written every page and blog post. I have also learned a lot about SEO and website management by working on this. I started this website around the end of chile season in 2021. In the early days, I wasn’t very good at writing or website design. As I began to write more and more, I needed to research a lot more about chile. I’ve read through tons of articles on NMSU’s website, along with other academic papers, blogs, and news articles. Combining this with my industry knowledge of chile, I believe that I’m one of the most well informed chile people in New Mexico.

I never wanted to hire some marketing agency to build a website for Farmers Chile Market, because I want our content to be genuine, and focused on providing useful and helpful information about chile in New Mexico. I grew up in Albuquerque, so I developed a passion for our fiery cuisine from an early age and continue to hold the same burning affection for chile three decades later. During the chile season, I roast more chile than anyone in Albuquerque, so I don’t often create content on the website. Instead, I write during the offseason, when I travel around to other countries, primarily Mexico, Vietnam, and Japan. During the offseason I write recipes, guides, and general musings about New Mexican chile and New Mexican culture.

My goals for the future

I intend to make Farmers Chile Market the best place for chile in all of New Mexico. I will not rest on my laurels, and will continue to try to improve my business in many different ways. One major way this year is that we will be shipping New Mexico chile products throughout the continental US. Another way is improving our product selection at our chile stand. Another way I am planning is equipment investments and infrastructure improvements. I’m always working to improve training and quality control at Farmers Chile Market as well. During the offseason, I have plenty of time to plan out improvements for the next chile season, and this 2024 Hatch chile season is no different! If the improvements made on our website are any indication, then we should have a great year of roasting chile in 2024. Expect us to do a great job this year and many years to come!