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Will there be enough chiles at Pueblo’s Chile & Frijoles Festival?

Pueblo Chiles
Posted at 8:58 PM, Sep 21, 2023

PUEBLO — The Pueblo Chile & Frijoles Festival is back in for its 29th year. Festivities start on Friday at 3 p.m. and go through Sunday. 150,000 people are expected to visit the Pueblo Chile And Frijoles Festival over the three days.

With the severe weather, this summer has not been easy for chile farmers in Pueblo. The question is will there be enough chilies?

The festival coordinator and the Vice president of the Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce, Donielle Kitzman said there will be enough chiles to go around.

“All indications are that there is going to be plenty of chile for the average Pueblo chile customer looking to pick up their few bushels for the year,” Kitzman said.

Kitzman said chile is a Pueblo specialty.

“It's unique to Pueblo county, it's a very unique strand of chile, it's meatier, bolder spicier, just like the people of Pueblo,” Kitzman said.

One farm outside of Pueblo said chile is not growing normally this summer.

“This year has been rough, it's been the worst I would imagine, we have ever seen,” Houghton said.

Carla Houghton is the Manager of Mauro Farm. Mauro Farm has been in her family for more than 100 years. She said this summer was different.

“The plants are there, they look beautiful but the quantity of chiles that are supposed to be on them, is not,” Houghton said.

The farm has lost thousands of chile bushels this summer because of weather.

“Too much rain in the spring, too much rain in the beginning of the summer, the hail storms that came through, and all the cold weather,” Houghton said.

Houghton said the lack of 100-degree days has caused a shortage of chile peppers.

“The whole county is missing ten of thousand of bushels out of their fields,” Houghton said.

Kitzman expects thousands of chiles to be bought and sold in town and out at the farms market through the three-day chile festival.

“From in-town to out of town, at the farmer markets, about 50 thousand bushels can be sold over the course of that duration,” Kitzman said.

Houghton said there is a good chance her farm among others will run out of chiles this weekend.

Typically this time of year, Houghton said she is packaging peppers to freeze and sell later, but right now there are not enough to do so.

Along with chile, therewill be a jalapeno eating contest, balloon fest, and more!
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