Despite all appearances to the contrary, customer service has not died.
Nope, there is still a small patch of wonderful service to be found in Southern New Mexico.
You'll recall a week ago, I wrote of my joy and my subsequent despair regarding buying actual New Mexico grown chiles here in Northern California.
In that blog post last week, I mentioned that I wrote a rather terse letter to the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, complete with photographs, about my sorrow.
In fact, I'll let you in on the text of my actual letter, sent to Mr. David Lucero at the NMDA:
Dear Mr. Lucero - I found your email address from the www.nmda.nmsu.edu
webpage, though I'm unsure if you are the right person to contact.
I am a native New Mexican now living in Northern California and while on
a Southwest Airlines flight, I was happy to see an ad in their inflight
magazine for Hatch Green Chile coming to a long list of supermarkets in
My husband and I plan to buy a lot as we enjoy our green chile
throughout the year by finding kind friends back home to bring us the
While at Whole Foods recently in (town name redacted), California, I saw a sign for "Hatch peppers" and I was very happy (Whole Foods was on the list of stores that would carry the product).
As I picked a few from the pile, I looked closer at the sign and I
noticed it said "grown in California." (see photo attached)
Now, I'm confused. Is this the "real thing" as advertised by the NMDA
and just mislabeled? Or has someone appropriated the Hatch name for
I chose not to buy any that day as I'm unsure.
Hence why I'm coming to you for advice and guidance.
Are Hatch chiles going to be available in the Northern California Bay
Area? Also, is someone perpetrating a terrible fraud by selling
California grown peppers under the branded Hatch name?
On behalf of my family, we thank you and appreciate any guidance you
All my best,
Honestly...I expected no reply.
Imagine my surprise when not only did I receive a VERY nice email from Mr. Lucero thanking me for providing this information, he also told me that he's taken up the issue with his national Whole Foods buyer (who was cc'd on the email) and also with his shipper, Seco Spice (also cc'd on the email).
Then, and here's where my mind gets blown, Mr. Lucero indicated that a Mr. Ogaz from Seco Spice would be happy to send me along a box of roasted and peeled chile if I'd be willing to pay shipping.
Holy jumping jehoshaphat!
So I'm currently getting shipping costs from the very kind Mr. Ogaz.
I want to publicly thank both Mr. Lucero and Mr. Ogaz for helping a poor New Mexico expat find her way home via the ol' dinner plate.
By the by, I checked with my friends down in the greater Las Cruces and Anthony metropolitan areas and they know the Ogaz family and Seco Spice and can vouch that they are top notch people and growers.
So here's a HUGE public thank you and a plug for the good people over at Seco Spice and the NMDA.
: sniffle : It makes me very proud to be a New Mexican.