PUEBLO — For many Chile farmers in Southern Colorado, Christmas comes early in September. The Pueblo Chile and Frijole Festival is a time when a year's worth of planting, growing, harvesting, and roasting pays off. That is, when farmers have enough chiles to sell for the thousands of people who visit every year.
"We got enough harvested for the festival, there's still some out in the fields, but it's starting to run out, and it's the end of September," said Dalton Milberger with Milberger Farms.
As we've reported, this was a tough Summer for farmers across Colorado because of the unusually cool, wet, and sometimes severe weather. That was especially true for Pueblo chile farmers earlier in the season, meaning a later-than-normal harvest and fears of a small crop.
However, farmers at the Cordo Family Farm say that a last-minute harvest helped most of the chile growers in the area.
"It was a tough year, it's been tough on all of them," said farmer Shelly Cordo. "I think a later crop came through for the Chile fest, so we're doing alright right now. It was just a really tough start for everybody".
Milberger says this year's Chile Fest was one of the most attended in recent memory.
"This has probably been one of the best years," he said. "It's been busy, great, we've seen a lot of people we haven't seen for a year. It's been a great time".
Milberger farms has been able to keep up with demand, but may not have as many crops as usual in October.
"We got enough harvested for the festival, there' still some out in the fields, but it's starting to run out, and it's the end of September. typically we can harvest until around the 10th of October, or the first freeze. We're going to shoot for that this year, and we'll see how close we get," said Milberger.
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