IF YOU GO

What: Green Chile Festival


When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday


Where: Sutherland Farms, 745 Road 2900 in Aztec


Information: 505-334-3578


AZTEC — Members of the Sutherland family carried bushels of green chiles to the flames on Saturday as anxious customers awaited the roasted treat.

Sutherland Farms, a family-owned farm, in Aztec hosted its 10th annual Green Chile Festival on Saturday. The festival continues today.

Sutherland Farms grows a variety of crops, including chiles, corn, onions, potatoes and pumpkins.

Farm owner D'rese Sutherland said the first festival was small, but it has expanded every year since then. She and her husband, Allen Sutherland, started the festival to celebrate the peak of the chile harvest. She said the family enjoys festivals and family-oriented events.

The festival enables community members to "come out and enjoy a day in the country," D'rese Sutherland said.

From horse rides and a petting zoo to wine and live music, the festival offers something for all ages. But the main attraction is the roasted chiles.

Bruce and Denise Norman sat near the roasting area, waiting for their bag of chiles to be roasted. The couple had purchased some of their favorite chiles -- Big Jims. The Big Jims are a medium-flavored chile.

"I'm not able to do hot," Denise Norman said.

The Big Jims were the overall favorite of chile enthusiasts at the festival, according to Judy Inskeep and Gina Jones, who were helping the Sutherlands by selling the chiles.

Inskeep said the size and meatiness of the chiles adds to their attraction.

Inskeep has been helping the Sutherlands sell chiles at the festival for 10 years, and Jones has been there for seven years. Every year, the Big Jims prove to be the favorite, they said.

Bushels of green chile sit on Saturday in a cooler during the Sutherland Farms Green Chile Festival in Aztec.
Bushels of green chile sit on Saturday in a cooler during the Sutherland Farms Green Chile Festival in Aztec. (Augusta Liddic/The Daily Times)

The smell also attracts vendors to the festival. One of the vendors, Bonnie "Granny" Williams, returned for the third year to sell her cotton-rope bowls.

"It's wonderful smelling," Williams said of the roasted chiles.

Williams said she plans to take home chiles and corn today, which is the final day of the weekend festival. Like many other customers, Williams enjoys the Big Jims.

"They're not too hot to burn and not too mild," he said.

She also added that the Sutherlands' corn is fantastic.

Mary Handrick attended the festival last year and decided to return Saturday. In addition to buying at the festival, Handrick loyally purchases roasted chiles from the Sutherlands at the farmers market in Durango, Colo.

"They know how to roast them," Handrick said.

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.