ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A friendly Super Bowl bet between the mayors of Seattle and Denver is causing a stir in New Mexico.
If the Seahawks win Sunday, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has wagered a few things he says are indicative of his city. Among them: handmade skis, a hoodie and a sampling of Denver's "amazing green chile."
Chile from the Mile High City?
The question has fired up New Mexicans, resulting in a flurry of social media posts on New Mexico's long history with the hot peppers.
Chile is the state vegetable and the basis of the official state question — "Red or green?" A state law even has been passed to protect the spicy reputation of New Mexico peppers by targeting impostors everywhere from roadside stands to grocery stores.
"We are the chile state," declared Katie Goetz, a spokeswoman for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture.
To help set the record straight, department officials aren't waiting for the outcome of Sunday's matchup between the Broncos and Seahawks. They're sending care packages with 20 pounds of frozen green chiles, aprons, hats and recipes to Hancock and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.
Hancock announced this week he would be wagering a sampling of green chile from a half-dozen local restaurants. There are some chile farms north of Denver and near Pueblo, but many Denver restaurants source their peppers straight from New Mexico, which pumps out more than 60,000 tons of green chile every year.
"The flavor of New Mexico green chile is just unique, and nobody else can even come close to delivering that kind of flavor," said Jaye Hawkins of the New Mexico Chile Association. "I'm assuming that's what the folks in Colorado love about it."