Category Archives: NMDA News and Hot Topics

Pizza party at State Fair to feature fresh New Mexico produce

(ALBUQUERQUE) – You’re invited to a pizza party!

It’s not just any pizza you’ll find at this shindig being hosted during the 2013 New Mexico State Fair.  These pies will feature tomatoes, onions, green chile, and more locally grown produce – the kind of fresh items you’ll find when you visit one of New Mexico’s farmers’ markets.

The Farmers’ Market Pizza Party is set for Saturday, September 14, from 1 to 3 p.m. in the courtyard of the Agriculture Building at the New Mexico State Fair.  The courtyard will be full of signs with the NEW MEXICO—Grown with Tradition® logo, which was designed to help consumers quickly identify agricultural items that were grown in the Land of Enchantment.

“We want people to come out and see just how simple (and delicious) it is to add locally grown items from the farmers’ market to the meals your family already enjoys,” New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte said.  “Everyone is invited – especially New Mexicans who have never been to their local farmers’ market.”

New Mexico’s network of farmers’ markets has seen solid growth over the last 20 years.  Two decades ago, you were lucky if you lived near one of the approximately 20 markets that existed in the state at that time.  Today 75 markets are alive and well across the state.  Seven markets opened between last season and this one alone.

Contributing to the growth of New Mexico farmers’ markets is the increasing convenience of buying items from them.  For instance, several markets have begun to accept credit and debit cards.


Local food companies to compete during first-ever NEW MEXICO—Taste the Tradition® Day at State Fair

(ALBUQUERQUE) – About a dozen New Mexico food companies will sample their products and vie to become the top seller during a first-of-its-kind event at the 2013 New Mexico State Fair.

NEW MEXICO—Taste the Tradition® Day at the fair will be held Sunday, September 15, from 12 to 3 p.m. in the courtyard of the Agriculture Building at the New Mexico State Fair.  Food companies from across New Mexico will sample their products, which will also be available for sale.  The company that sells the greatest dollar amount of products during the three-hour event will win a customizable portable demonstration kitchen station valued at $700.

“This event is good for both fairgoers and New Mexico companies,” New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte said.  “It gives fairgoers a chance to try local foods both for their own use and to give as gifts, and it gives participating companies extra exposure to new customers.”

Each participating company will receive a custom sign, two aprons, and exposure during the event and online through NMDA’s website and Facebook profile.  During the holiday season, participating companies will also be featured in a full-page, full-color advertisement encouraging New Mexicans to give local foods and beverages as gifts.

To compete in the event, companies must be registered members of the NEW MEXICO—Taste the Tradition® logo program, which NMDA developed in 2000 to help consumers immediately identify foods and beverages made in New Mexico.  In the same year, NMDA created the NEW MEXICO—Grown with Tradition® logo program to help consumers immediately identify food crops, fiber crops (such as cotton), and nursery/greenhouse plants grown in New Mexico.

NMDA also invites everyone to shop at the New Mexico Country Store, which was created 22 years ago as a place for fairgoers to discover New Mexico foods such as salsas and other chile products, chips, spice mixes, baked goods, jams and jellies, candies, ciders, nuts, and more.  The Country Store is located in the Agriculture Building.


Agriculture Day brings local foods, all-ages fun to NMSU Aggie tailgating, September 7

Milking demonstrations, pony rides, food drive among the day’s activities to kick off Aggie football season

(LAS CRUCES, N.M.) – New Mexico’s agricultural community is planning a fun day for people of all ages and backgrounds to get an up-close view of New Mexico agriculture – but instead of driving to the farm or ranch to experience it, all you have to do is show up before New Mexico State University (NMSU) takes on the University of Minnesota at the home opener of Aggie football season on September 7.

Agriculture Day activities will take place on the NMSU campus.  Dozens of booths representing all facets of New Mexico agriculture will stretch along Arrowhead Drive (formerly Payne Street), north of Aggie Memorial Stadium and east of the Pan American Center.  The fun begins at 2 p.m. and continues until kickoff at 6 p.m.

Here’s a sampling of some of the many free activities you’ll find at Agriculture Day:

  • Recreational pony rides and equine therapy rides (which rely on a horse’s movement to deliver physical, occupational, and speech/language therapies to the rider)
  • Cow-milking demonstrations
  • Roping demonstrations
  • Face-painting
  • Photo opportunities – including with El Whoppo, the GIANT New Mexico green chile cheeseburger

You’ll also be able to see up close some of the shrimp being raised at NMSU’s Agricultural Experiment Station for commercial sale.  The shrimp eat the protein-rich meal of cottonseed, the traditionally underutilized portion of cotton, which is one of New Mexico’s biggest crops.

“You can think of Agriculture Day as a one-stop shop to learn about New Mexico agriculture and experience parts of it close up in a fun way,” New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte said.  “I invite you to stop in at every booth and ask questions to learn more about the production of food as well as things like wool and cotton that are used to make clothes and other items we use every single day.”

Witte also encourages people to come to the event just a little hungry – not only to enjoy the dairy products, chile products, and gourmet cooking oils (made from pressed cottonseed) that will be sampled at several booths, but also to buy local foods from the concession stands in and around Aggie Memorial Stadium.  To celebrate Agriculture Day, NMSU’s foodservice provider, Sodexo Dining Services, will be jazzing up its menu with New Mexico food items.  That means you can expect New Mexico beef in your burger, New Mexico cheese on your tacos, New Mexico chile on your nachos, and New Mexico pecans and pistachios on top of your favorite ice cream.

Also among the exhibitors at Agriculture Day will be Roadrunner Food Bank, which helps feed nearly 40,000 hungry New Mexicans a week through food pantries, shelters, group homes, soup kitchens, low-income senior housing sites, and regional food banks.   People are invited to stop by Roadrunner’s booth to learn about its programs, how to volunteer at its southern branch, and more.  People are also asked to consider bringing a bag filled with non-perishable food to donate.

A group of agriculture organizations and companies across New Mexico is sponsoring the game.  NMSU’s College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (ACES) and New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) provided support in coordinating the event alongside NMSU Athletics Department and other university partners.

The game will feature the first-ever Big 10 team to play in Aggie Memorial Stadium.  Tickets to this special game start at $10 and are available now at the Pan American Center ticket office (575-646-1420) and on the day of the game.  This is the first of seven home games this year; season tickets are available starting at $49.

For more information about Agriculture Day, please visit the related Facebook event page.  For more information about NMSU Aggie football, please visit

Shipping New Mexico chile to California? You’d better label it

(LAS CRUCES, N.M.) – New Mexicans feeling generous enough to share their fresh New Mexico chile peppers with friends and family are being advised on how to label the packages they intend to mail to California in order to ensure prompt delivery.

Every year New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) receives notifications that shipments of fresh chile have been delayed due to improperly labeled packages.

California Department of Food and Agriculture staff routinely inspect shipments at the post office, FedEx stores, UPS stores, and the like in order to protect against plant pests and disease that could harm that state’s agricultural sector.  Although fresh New Mexico chile peppers are not considered such a threat, packages that aren’t properly labeled are subject to delays if inspectors have to open them to determine their contents.

To minimize delays in the delivery of fresh New Mexico chile peppers to California, New Mexicans should clearly print the following on the outside of their packages:

          Contents: Pungent Capsicum Peppers
          Origin: New Mexico

“Adding the label is a simple step that will go a long way in ensuring that your out-of-state family and friends get their fix of fresh New Mexico chile,“ New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte said.

Witte added that New Mexico chile growers are increasingly shipping their chile into states such as California where it’s sold at grocery stores, at restaurants for seasonal dishes, and at festivals to celebrate its long-awaited arrival.  Through its decade-old “Get Your Fix” campaign, NMDA has helped the New Mexico’s chile growers and shippers to develop new markets for their gourmet peppers as well as to expand existing markets.

For questions regarding shipments of chile or other New Mexico products to other states, contact NMDA at 575-646-3207.

Sept. 7 marks Agriculture Day at the NMSU Aggies home opener against the Univ. of Minn. Gophers


Come out on September 7, 2013, before your NMSU Aggies take on the University of Minnesota Gophers at the Aggies’ first home football game of the season.  The AGRICULTURE DAY fun will take place in the area just north of Aggie Memorial Stadium from 2 p.m. until kickoff.

Just walk up and down Payne Street and you’ll find a street fair environment featuring AGRICULTURE DAY fun for the whole family:

  • Enjoy plenty of kids’ activities
  • Sample some tasty New Mexico foods
  • Get your picture with El Whoppo, the giant New Mexico green chile cheeseburger
  • Talk with farmers and ranchers and others in New Mexico agriculture
  • And much more!

Come hungry because you’ll find plenty of New Mexico foods – including our state’s famous roasted green chile – at the concessions stand inside Aggie Memorial Stadium.

AGRICULTURE DAY events, as well as the game itself, are sponsored by organizations and companies involved in New Mexico agriculture.

Three cheers for New Mexico agriculture and for the NMSU Aggies as they look to win their home game of the season.  We’ll see you at AGRICULTURE DAY!