A New Mexico green chile plant with lots of flowers

Ode to Chile Pickers

Picking chile is a pretty high paid job. In general, pickers have been making more than $15 an hour for years. That being said, I think there are few jobs more difficult that picking chile.

The plants themselves don’t grow much higher than 2 feet. They also keep producing and need to be harvested about 5 times per plant, so they can’t be cut down to simplify the process like some other plants. Bending down and picking chile is hard enough, but then also need to lift a heavy basket into the bin as well. On top of that, they do all of it in the sun. Chile plants love the sun and are too short to provide any shade.

The average high for the Hatch and Socorro valleys is in the mid 90s throughout chile season, regularly breaking 100 degrees. Talk about sweltering. Picking chile in New Mexico is some seriously hard work. It is a job that really does deserve good compensation.

We are incredibly grateful to the pickers in Hatch and San Antonio, New Mexico, where we get most of our chile from. Without them, we wouldn’t have green chile to roast, nor would we have red chile for ristras. They are certainly an integral part of New Mexican society.