Red Pepper Money Makers, 1901

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A grower admires her ristras.
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The California chile industry was started by Emilio Ortega, as recounted on the Ortega products website and in Sunset Magazine in 1901: “It all started with chile peppers. Emilio Ortega’s fascination with chiles began when he moved to New Mexico in 1890. Here he encountered the state’s popular big red chiles. Emilio discovered he preferred this chile when it was still young and green because it was tender and mild in flavor. When he returned home to California a few years later, he brought with him chile pepper seeds and many recipes for dishes he had grown to love while in New Mexico. Back home with his family at their adobe house in Ventura, California, Emilio planted the chile seeds.” This article, “Red Pepper Money Makers, 1901” has more than 86,000 page views on the Fiery Foods & Barbecue SuperSite.