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Chile Challenge Between Colorado, New Mexico Governors Off...for Now
Mark Antonation

Chile Challenge Between Colorado, New Mexico Governors Off...for Now

The great Colorado-New Mexico Chile Challenge is off, for now. After trying, and failing, to find a date when they could meet up to sample their state's green chiles, Governor Jared Polis and Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham have called a halt to hostilities.

Sort of.

The battle began in early July, when Polis gave Whole Foods a Facebook shout-out for finally stocking Pueblo's finest:

About time! Whole Foods Market will soon offer Pueblo Chile, widely acknowledged as the best chile in the world, in Colorado and throughout the Rocky Mountain region. Whole Foods will stock 125,000 pounds of Pueblo Chile in Colorado, Kansas, Idaho and Utah. New Mexico stores will unfortunately not be offering the best chile and will instead keep offering inferior New Mexico chile.

Fired up by the dig at Hatch chiles, her state's most famous crop, Grisham responded on Twitter on July 10:

If Pueblo chile were any good, it would have been on national shelves before now. If Colorado wants to go chile to chile, no question that New Mexico can bring the heat - Hatch chile is, has always been and will always be the greatest in the world.

Polis was quick to take up the challenge:

I agree with @GovMLG on a lot of things, but we disagree on this one. I challenge @GovMLG to a chile taste-off in Trinidad! Let’s put this to the test.

While the staffs of the two governors were trying to find a date for that test, New Mexico turned up the heat, with an ad campaign pushing that state as the "Chile Capital of the World," complete with a billboard high above Lincoln Street, just blocks from the Colorado State Capitol.

New Mexico took the fight to the streets of Denver.
New Mexico took the fight to the streets of Denver.
Mark Antonation

Polis took the dig in stride. And while he still stands by the quality of Colorado’s green chiles, he recently called a time-out to the challenge, because New Mexico's governor couldn't find a date to meet before November, and by then this state could be more concerned with white stuff than green.

For now, though, it’s still chile season here, and to show his appreciation for the home team, Polis ventured down to Pueblo on September 27 for a chile tasting with the Pueblo Chile Growers Association at Musso Farms.

"We are always up to the challenge, because we know that Pueblo chiles are the best, most delicious chiles in the world," he says. "I ate a dozen last weekend. Maybe next year New Mexico will be able to stand the heat and make it work.”

In the meantime, Polis will content himself with this snack, posted on Facebook after a weekend of green chile eating and yellow leaf-peeping: peanut butter, bananas, honey and green chile:

Chile Challenge Between Colorado, New Mexico Governors Off...for Now
Polis Facebook

Take that, New Mexico.

While the New Mexico tourism office (slogan: "New Mexico true") continues its campaign disparaging its neighbor to the north, Polis took the high road when he addressed the Colorado Governor's Tourism Conference on October 1. He touted the industry that's Colorado's second-largest employer and a "pathway to success" for lifetime careers.

“I’m delighted to see Colorado rising as the national leader in sustainable travel, and as governor and as a Coloradan, I recognize how important it is to ensure that our state’s natural beauty and recreational opportunities that attract visitors from around the world are preserved for generations to come,” Polis told the crowd, uttering not a word about New Mexico.

The night before, though, the Pueblo Chile & Frijoles Festival, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last month, was named the winner of the Outstanding Community Tourism Initiative Award.

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