Strolling down the walkway of the Albuquerque International Airport, one is overwhelmed by the variety of quaint crafts that represent New Mexican culture. The commodification of both Native and Hispano cultures is displayed throughout the airport and in the city's tourist shops that pepper the landscape of historical sites. Native heritage is sold as Kachina dolls, Navajo blankets, turquoise jewelry, and Indian fry bread. Dispersed among these Native crafts are souvenirs of a separate sort-those that symbolize the native Hispano culture. Most celebrated among Hispano products is chile, in more recent times this is most often green chile. Hispanics make up 47% of New Mexico's population (Pew Research 2011) and particularly when tourists travel north of Albuquerque, where some of the larger Hispanic concentrations are located in the high-country's northern regions above Interstate 40 (U.S. Census Data 2010), they find themselves confronted by a host of chile items in the form of ristras (strings of drying red chile peppers), Christmas lights, earrings, salsas, burgers, beer, soaps, and wax candles, and other commodities. All of these products have become more readily visible in response to a rise in tourism, however, their cultural influence goes far beyond tourism. Chile has been cultivated in New Mexico for at least four centuries (Bosland and Walker 2004) and some chile lines have been bred and handed down through generations. Symbolically linked to both the land and a distinctive New Mexican identity, green chile (Capsicum) appears as a cultural heirloom that defines northern New Mexican cuisine and as one respondent stated, " is seen in part to be what makes northern Hispano New Mexico culture unique. " As both food and decoration, chile is a preeminent ethnic emblem for what Gonzales (2007) terms Nuevomexicanos, or northern New Mexican Hispanos. Over the last several decades, there has been an explosion in research on food, identity, gendered relationships, and cultural heritage. Scholarship documents the centrality of food, 2 [Type the document title] consumption, and preparation in expressing and maintaining various aspects of identity (questions of how people connect what they eat to their personal, social, and political identities, of how they use what they eat to distinguish themselves from others within and outside specific social groups, and of the role 'cuisine' plays in the scripts of 'Nation' and 'national identity' are quite revealing " (Narayan 1997:161). By considering chile, this paper contributes to this ongoing research on food and identity through its exploration of Hispano in the specific region of northern New Mexico. To explore the ways in which Hispanos symbolically use and relate to green chile and how green chile is incorporated into a sense of ethnic identity, I conducted semi-structured telephone and face-to-face interviews with people living in rural northern New Mexico, Albuquerque, and southern Colorado. A snowball sampling procedure was used to contact participants, whereby one contact provided names of others of Hispano heritage willing to discuss the topic. A total of 24 interviews were conducted in 2011 and 2012 with participants between the ages of 24 and 72 who identify as being part of a Hispano culture. The semi-structured interview guide contained 20 open-ended questions related to green chile and Hispano culture. Qualitative content analysis was utilized to systematically examine the interviews and newspaper articles from local papers (The Las Vegas Optic, Green Fire Times, Santa Fe New Mexican and the documentary film Genetic Green Chile) that added secondary supportive data. Data from informal interviews and over ten years of participant observation of funciones, fiestas, Lent rituals, and 'topic related' conferences/workshops were verified by speaking with key informants, including artists, teachers, retirees, local residents, business owners, and scholars specializing in New Mexican history. Examples of topic related conferences include one held at the University of New Mexico in 2012 titled, " Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops on the Freedom to Farm in the U.S. and Abroad, " as well as a 2012 workshop at the Onate Cultural Center on seed saving and presentations made by Cuatros Puertas, a non-profit culturally based seed bank, on green chile and genetic engineering.