‘Chili’ company’s spelling choice raises eyebrows

From KRQE-TV.com - HATCH, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s an age old question in New Mexico. Is the vegetable that tops so many plates statewide spelled “chile” or “chili?” For most New Mexicans, there’s only one way, and that’s “chile” with an “e.” However, the way one Hatch farm is spelling it is still raising some eyebrows, opting for “chili.”
      The company behind the product has been growing “chili” in Hatch for more than 50 years. While most of their neighbors have put an “e” on the end of their product, Barker’s is sticking with “chili,” leaving some wondering why. In the heat of chile season, a lot of people think getting chile “right” in New Mexico means Hatch grown and fire roasted. But another crucial step? You’ve got to spell “chile” the so-called “right way.”
      It’s a common thought for most New Mexicans that chile has an “e” on the end of it. Even the state has taken an official stance on it in the “New Mexico True” advertising campaign. One of the most recent ads it released says, “we spell chile the right way,” ending with the statement, “that’s New Mexico True.” The state’s new New Mexico-grown certification program also spells chile with an “e.” So it comes as a surprise for some New Mexicans to see a New Mexico company spelling “chili” with an “I.”
     The farm that packages Barkers Chile’s has a website that spells “chile” both ways. They’ve been in Hatch for more than 50 years. And a 14-year business near Broadway and Lomas, Albuquerque’s “Chile Konnection” with a “K” knows it first hand, the spelling game can get you some flack. However, they say they still have love for a New Mexico product.
     One of the people working at the Mesilla Valley Chili Company Tuesday told New 13, they do get a lot of complaints about the name but say the owner has always been in New Mexico and has always stuck to her guns with the use of the letter “I”. The employee said she has strong opinions about chili and has no plans on changing them anytime soon. More