PUEBLO, Colo. - The Pueblo chile peppers are a staple in southern Colorado but aren't necessarily known for their extreme heat. However, experts say this year's crops might pack a little more punch than in years past.
Some researches believe this past summer's drought conditions are ideal for growing a spicier crop of pepper.
Dr. Mike Bartolo with Colorado State University's Arkansas Valley Research Center looks specifically at local crops around the area, especially chili peppers.
“I don’t know if we have any scientific evidence to validate that peppers are getting hotter," said Dr. Bartolo. "But certainly with hot dry conditions we experienced earlier in the summer, it wouldn’t be too surprising if that was the case. Especially if they were water stressed."
Not everyone in Pueblo is in agreement on whether the new crop's heat has increased. Pueblo chile pepper growers like Kasey Hund with DiTomaso farms, says the pepper's level of spiciness is noticeable.
“They have been quiet a bit hotter," said Hund. "I’ve had a few customers actually bring it back."
Tom Giodone, a server at Giodone, has been serving chile peppers in Pueblo for decades. He says the peppers he will be whipping up at The Colorado State Fair this week are the same as they have always been.
“I haven’t had anyone say they are a lot hotter," said Giodone. "They are normal I think.”
Both Giodone and Hund agree on one thing; most chile pepper customers in Pueblo enjoy the heat.
“A lot of people don’t complain when they are too hot, but when they aren’t hot enough we get a lot of people that don’t like it," said Hund.
“Pueblo eats hot," said Giodone. "The hotter the better in Pueblo.”
Speaking of chile peppers, Pueblo's annual Chile's and Frijoles festival is nearly here. The festival is a celebration of the city's chile harvest. The event features booths, music, food, and plenty of chile peppers.
The celebration will be in downtown Pueblo along Union Avenue and begins September 21st.