August 11, 2014. Retrieved online August 18, 2014 from Jason Gibbs, Las Cruces Sun-News
[Excerpts below reprinted with permission: Read the complete Las Cruces Sun-News article]
LAS CRUCES >> Preston Mitchell is sweating it a little bit this harvest season. But chile lovers will soon appreciate the fruits of his labors.
Mitchell, along with his wife, Elaine, own and operate The Hatch Chile Store. They recently purchased the fresh and frozen green chile and online sales portions of Biad Chili Products business.
They are putting the final touches on their new 3920 W. Picacho Ave. location with Biad’s hardware in place to roast, vacuum pack, freeze and ship Hatch green chile across the globe through their website which now includes Biad’s former online business.
Mitchell’s great-grandfather, Joseph Franzoy immigrated from Sporimnore, Italy, and is credited with being the first chile farmer in the Hatch Valley. His family continues to be involved in agriculture.
Mitchell entered the online sales business at age 13, after his grandparents had a poor year on their chile farm and he launched an online site to boost sales, he said.
“My grandparents had some unfortunate events, crop failures,” he said. “And I thought what could I do to help them get out the position they are in” he said. “I thought what the heck, let’s try it.”
After finishing the 2013 season, the Mitchells decided to buy out his grandparents’ farm and make a go of processing and sales.
“My wife and I graduated from NMSU. We thought about it and said let’s buy them out,” Mitchell said. “Then, this summer Chris Biad said he wanted to sell his fresh and frozen green chile business.”
Mitchell’s uncle will continue to provide 90 percent of the product from the family farm in Hatch. Other providers will ensure a wide range of offerings, including heritage varieties fostered at the New Mexico Chile Institute.
“We are going to focus on retail,” Mitchell said. The Biads “were wholesale. We are focusing on retail. One thing they did well was physical retail. We were online exclusively. We want to bring that product to Las Cruces and southern New Mexico.”
Jason Gibbs may be reached at 575-541-5451.