New Mexico is looking to a new certification program to protect the reputation of one of its signature crops: chile.
Gov. Susana Martinez and other officials unveiled the program before a packed room of chile aficionados gathered Tuesday at The Range in Bernalillo. The Range is the first restaurant to sign up.
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New Mexico Certified Chile joins other well-known trademarked products such as Vidalia Onions and Idaho Potatoes.
Martinez says chile is a way of life in New Mexico and contributes more than $400 million every year to the state's economy. She says people shouldn't have to ask whether it's really New Mexico-grown chile.
The program builds upon on existing law that makes it illegal to advertise any product as New Mexico chile unless it's actually grown in the state.