Fri Oct 13th, 2017
Jeremy Wade Shockley
The Southern Ute Drum
Amos Lee believes in the vision of the small town grocer, the community store; as place that brings us together on common ground. Lee also believes in supporting the local economy. Since moving his family into the Ignacio community, and building Farmers Fresh over the past few years, he is now working together with local vendors to bring select products to market.
Perhaps the most notable being this years’ roasted green chiles. “If there is anything that resonates with this region, and it’s culture, it’s the roasting of fresh green chile. It’s a seasonal thing, it fills the air — and people can’t help but comment on it,” he says. Farmers Fresh has been selling and roasting New Mexico chile for some time now, but this year the proprietor sampled a locally grown chile that caught his attention. “The New Mexico chile was good quality, but the flavor doesn’t compare to this,” Lee said in regards to green chile being cultivated by the Wright family of Allison, Colo., which he believes has more flavor, and is certainly fresher.
Mike Wright doubled his crops this year, in order to fill an order by Farmers Fresh, who favored the idea of selling a local product locally. “He matched the price of the Hatch Chile,” Lee said. “I want to be the dealer for the local producers, and build a good relationships with them.” The variety of chile grown by the Wright family is the same as that made famous by New Mexico growers in the Hatch region, which are varieties of the Anaheim Pepper. The varietals commonly used in Southwestern cuisine are the ‘Big Jim’ and ‘Miss Junie,’ one being hotter then the other; both of which have now been successfully grown by the Wrights — locally.
“I started growing green chile because I didn’t like what I was buying,” Wright said. He started out growing less then a hundred plants, and has since turned his attention to growing 18 thousand plants, while anticipating even more will be in the ground next season. “I make it where I can stay in business, and they get a better product. It’s fresher,” Wright said, citing that some of the chile roasted in Ignacio this fall was picked the same day. “Farmer’s Fresh has helped me immensely,” Wright said.
Amos Lee has also set up a partnership with local entrepreneur, Gene Jaques, of Jaques Eggs to stock farm fesh eggs at the supermarket; providing a locally sourced, and highly nutritional option for his customers in Ignacio. The market has also sourced local beef, and jerky products in recent months. “My vision is to create partnerships in the community,” Lee said.