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NMSU's Chile Pepper Institute, Biad Chili team up for super-flavored chile

It's chile season in New Mexico, but not every pepper is created equal. Researchers at New Mexico State University's Chile Pepper Institute and Las Cruces-based Biad Chili Products LLC have partnered to produce Biad's Reserve NuMex Heritage 6-4, a super-flavored chile bred to have five times the flavor compounds and aroma of similar chiles grown today.

Biad's Reserve NuMex Heritage 6-4, a super-flavored chile, is bred to have five times the flavor compounds and aroma of similar chiles grown today (Courtesy photo by Jesse Ramirez)

"I'd like for the public to get a good, quality chile pepper," said Chris Biad, president of Biad Chili. "Other peppers out there are good, but this takes it to a new level."

Paul Bosland, director of the Chile Pepper Institute, said decades of breeding practices that emphasized the traits of plant yield and disease resistance had caused several New Mexico chile varieties to lose their signature taste and aroma. NuMex Heritage 6-4 chiles, and other soon-to-be-released NuMex Heritage varieties, are bred from seeds frozen from the original plant strain. The new peppers still have beneficial traits for farmers but also have 500 percent more flavor.

"Advances like this are important in keeping the chile industry alive in New Mexico," Biad said. "Plus, this gives us a chance to give back to the university and support the work they do for the industry."

A portion of the sales from Biad's Reserve will help the Chile Pepper Institute in raising money for an endowed chair in chile pepper research and to establish a new, expanded Chile Pepper Institute facility.

Biad graduated from NMSU with a degree in agronomy and continues to have a close relationship with the university. His grandfather came to the United States from Italy in the late 1940s and began farming chile with his two sons in southern New Mexico, originally using his roof to dry red chile after harvesting.

"I think chile is right up there with water when it comes to importance in New Mexico," said Anna Emerick-Biad, marketing and sales director for Biad Chili. "It's a staple. It's almost a lifestyle."

Frozen, one-pound boxes of NuMex Heritage 6-4 chile pods are available through the Chile Pepper Institute by visiting http://chilepepperinstitute.org or by calling (575) 646-3028. Larger, 10-pound boxes are available through Biad's Chili by visiting their facility at 6060 S. Main St., Mesilla Park, N.M., by calling (575) 525-0034 or visiting http://biadchili.com. Shipping is available anywhere in the country. Large quantities of seeds from NuMex Heritage 6-4 and NuMex Heritage Big Jim are also available through Biad Chili.