The Pueblo Chile hasn’t always been around, in fact, it’s a fairly new strain of chile.
Dr. Mike Bartolo is the manager and vegetable crop specialist at Colorado State University at the Arkansas Valley Research Center. For him, farming runs in his family.
“My uncle’s name was Harry Mosco and the Mosco Family along with my family were farmers,” said Dr. Bartolo. Harry Mosco worked in the fields east of Pueblo until he passed away in 1988, but he left behind a legacy that wouldn’t be discovered until years later.
In the early 1990’s, Dr. Bartolo was given a bag of seeds that had been handed down from his uncle from which he discovered a slight mutation in some of the peppers.
“I found one individual pepper growing in that original population that was just a little bit different, it was a little bit bigger, a little bit thicker. And I took that and after about another five or six years I began selecting out of that original one single pepper and from that arose the variety called Mosco which is now the variety commonly used as the Pueblo Chile,” explained Bartolo.
After growing in Pueblo for nearly three decades, the chile had adapted.
“There’s really no other chile that’s genetically like that Pueblo Chile,” exclaimed Dr. Bartolo.
The Pueblo Chile can be called a “mira sol”, which means looking at the sun because it grows up towards the sky rather than hanging down towards the ground.
Dr. Bartolo explains what is unique about the chile: “You can feel the texture and there’s a certain weight to the pepper. this is what’s now grown as the Mosco.”
Colorado’s extreme shifts from hot days and cold nights are what gives the Mosco chile the thick walls and the consistent heat chile lovers have become accustomed to.
Just in time for the Pueblo Chile and Frijoles Festival, Dr. Bartolo says he’s developed a new strain of the Pueblo Chile that has an extra kick to it.