PEARCE, Ariz. (KVOA) – The next time you see these on the shelf, think of Ed Curry. He dedicates his life to farming hatch chiles right here in southern Arizona.
Ed Curry farms 250-300 acres of all different varieties of hatch chile in Pearce, Arizona. He has four processing plants on the farm, employs 25 full-timers and around 100 or so part-timers when it’s harvest season.
His father began growing hatch chile in 1957. But, he says that he took it to the next step.
“I wanted to produce something better,” said Curry.
And that he did.
Curry is now the chairman of the International Pepper Conference, which involves around 38 countries around the world. It was supposed to be hosted in Tucson, but due to COVID-19, Tucson will have to wait until next year in order to become a week-long chile capital.
Curry says the genetics of 90% of green chiles across the world originated at his farm.
Curry’s son and farm manager Tyler said, “We produce three to four thousand tons a year.”
And you could’ve guessed… this year has been quite a different one.
“COVID has been good for us because people are at home working.” Curry added. “But, our labor force has been hugely impacted by COVID. There’s a great amount of workers that come across the border.”
All of this, to pepper up your next homemade enchilada.
“We can’t do it without our workers and my family. I’ll tell you… support is everything,” said Curry.
As the International Pepper Conference couldn’t be held in Tucson, farmers across the world will be posting history and stories of their peppers sporadically. Visit extension.arizona.edu/pepper2020/ for more information.