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New Mexico State Vegetables

Chile & Frijol (free-HO-lays)

Chile & Frijol (free-HO-lays)

(Chile (capsicum annum L.) and frijoles (pinto beans of the phaseolus vulgaris family))

Adopted in 1965.

New Mexico's state vegetables represent the culinary contributions of the early Spanish settlers, who brought chile (Capsicum annum L.) from Mexico, and of New Mexico's indigenous Pueblo people, for whom frijoles (pinto beans of the Phaseolus vulgaris variety) were a dietary staple. Chile is a pungent pepper that is harvested in early fall, then roasted, peeled and served. When chile ripens, it turns bright red, and red chile is often strung in ristras and hung out to dry. New Mexico State University has developed a variety of new strains of chile, and there are always conflicting claims as to who harvests the mildest or hottest. Chile and frijoles combine in a distinctive cuisine that can only be considered "native New Mexican". The combination of vitamin-rich chile and protein-rich frijoles offers natives and visitors alike a memorable dining experience. In 1965, the legislative debate over adoption of the vegetable centered on the argument that the two vegetables were inseparable, so both chile and frijoles were adopted as the official state vegetables.

Chile and frijoles (free-HO-lays)- pinto beans - are a unique part of the New Mexican diet. Chile is a pungent pepper which is harvested green, in early fall, roasted, peeled and served in everything from soups to stews.

New Mexico State Vegetables:
Chile & Frijol (free-HO-lays)

Chile & Frijol (free-HO-lays)

Chile (capsicum annum L.) and frijoles (pinto beans of the phaseolus vulgaris family), New Mexico's state vegetables, are a unique part of the New Mexico diet. The pinto bean, along with maize (corn) and squash, has been a staple of the Pueblo Indian diet since pre-historic times. The early Spanish settlers brought the chile plant to New Mexico from the Valley of Mexico, where the Aztecs had cultivated the plant for centuries. Chile is a pungent pepper which is harvested in the early fall, toasted, peeled and served as a delicious stew, stuffed with cheese or made into a favorite recipe. When the chile ripens it turns bright red. It is then strung (chile ristras) and hung out to dry. There are as many ways to prepare red chile, as there are claims of who harvests the mildest or the hottest. New Mexico State University can take credit for developing a variety of strains. The use of frijoles, chile and corn has given the state a distinctive cuisine, which can only be considered "Native New Mexican."

The combination of the vitamin-rich chile and the protein-rich frijole offers natives and visitors alike a memorable dining experience. In 1965, the legislative debate over adoption of the vegetable centered over the argument that the two vegetables were inseparable so both the chile and frijole were adopted as the official vegetables.

New Mexico Law

The law designating the chile, the Spanish adaptation of the chilli, and the pinto bean, commonly known as the frijol as the official New Mexico state vegetable is found in the 2013 New Mexico Statutes, Article 3, Section 12-4-4 F.

Chapter 12 - Miscellaneous Public Affairs Matters
Article 3 - State Seal, Song and Symbols
Section 12-3-4 - State flower; state bird; state tree; state fish; state animal; state vegetables; state gem; state grass; state fossil; state cookie; state insect; state question; state answer; state nickname; state butterfly; state reptile; state amphibian; state amphibian; state aircraft; state historic railroad; state tie; state necklace.

Universal Citation: NM Stat § 12-3-4 (2013)

12-3-4. State flower; state bird; state tree; state fish; state animal; state vegetables; state gem; state grass; state fossil; state cookie; state insect; state question; state answer; state nickname; state butterfly; state reptile; state amphibian; state aircraft; state historic railroad; state tie; state necklace. (2011)
A. The yucca flower is adopted as the official flower of New Mexico.
B. The chaparral bird, commonly called roadrunner, is adopted as the official bird of New Mexico.
C. The nut pine or pinon tree, scientifically known as Pinus edulis, is adopted as the official tree of New Mexico.
D. The native New Mexico cutthroat trout is adopted as the official fish of New Mexico.
E. The native New Mexico black bear is adopted as the official animal of New Mexico.
F. The chile, the Spanish adaptation of the chilli, and the pinto bean, commonly known as the frijol, are adopted as the official vegetables of New Mexico.
G. The turquoise is adopted as the official gem of New Mexico.
H. The blue grama grass, scientifically known as Bouteloua gracillis, is adopted as the official grass of New Mexico.
I. The coelophysis is adopted as the official fossil of New Mexico.
J. The bizcochito is adopted as the official cookie of New Mexico.
K. The tarantula hawk wasp, scientifically known as Pepsis formosa, is adopted as the official insect of New Mexico.
L. "Red or green?" is adopted as the official question of New Mexico.
M. "Red and green or Christmas" is adopted as the official answer of New Mexico.
N. "The Land of Enchantment" is adopted as the official nickname of New Mexico.
O. The Sandia hairstreak is adopted as the official butterfly of New Mexico.
P. The New Mexico whiptail lizard, scientifically known as Cnemidophorus neomexicanus, is adopted as the official reptile of New Mexico.
Q. The New Mexico spadefoot toad, scientifically known as Spea multiplicata, is adopted as the official amphibian of New Mexico.
R. The hot air balloon is adopted as the official aircraft of New Mexico.
S. The Cumbres and Toltec scenic railroad is adopted as the official historic railroad of New Mexico.
T. The bolo tie is adopted as the official tie of New Mexico.
U. The Native American squash blossom necklace is adopted as the official necklace of New Mexico.
History: Laws 1927, ch. 102, § 1; C.S. 1929, § 129-101; 1941 Comp., § 3-1303; Laws 1949, ch. 142, § 1; 1953 Comp., § 4-14-3; Laws 1955, ch. 245, § 1; 1963, ch. 2, § 1; 1965, ch. 20, § 1; 1967, ch. 51, § 1; 1967, ch. 118, § 1; 1973, ch. 95, § 1; 1981, ch. 123, § 1; 1989, ch. 8, § 1; 1989, ch. 154, § 1; 1999, ch. 266, § 1; 1999, ch. 271, § 1; 2003, ch. 182, § 1; 2005, ch. 4, § 1; 2005, ch. 254, § 1; 2007, ch. 10, § 1; 2007, ch. 179, § 1; 2011, ch. 52, § 1.

 

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