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Pueblo Chile branding campaign revealed at first-ever Pueblo Chile Day
PUEBLO – It looked, smelled and sounded like a normal day at the Colorado State Fair. But Saturday, September 5, 2015 was an extra special day at the Fair. It was different because of the scent of roasted-Pueblo Chiles spicing the air, already thick with the smell of sugary funnel cakes and other fried goodness. This day was different because fairgoers nibbled green chili wraps, green chile pizza and deep-fried green chiles, while children looked on in awe at a chile Lego sculpture. This day was different because Pueblo Chile had taken over the Colorado State Fair for the first-ever Pueblo Chile Day. It was a historic day for Pueblo’s identity and a day celebrating the Pueblo Chile’s first branding campaign, forecasted to bring an additional $1.1 Million to the Pueblo community in its first year and grow by 9.4 percent each year after.
“Pueblo Chiles are grown with Rocky Mountain Water and Colorado Sunshine. Our cool nights and hot days make Pueblo Chiles hotter, bigger and meatier, which makes them superior for roasting,” said Chris Markuson, Pueblo County’s Director of Economic Development & GIS. The main variety of pepper that Pueblo farmers grow is the Mirasol “Mosco” chile. The variety is very unique, because it grows with its tip pointing upward, toward the sun. Markuson notes, “Mirasol chile is packed with flavor, and is definitely hotter than the Anaheim chiles grown in California or New Mexico.”
The Pueblo Chile branding campaign was made possible by a $144,000 USDA Specialty Crops Block Grant from the Colorado Department of Agriculture that was obtained by Pueblo County’s Economic Development & Geographic Information Systems department.
Pueblo Chile farmers, with assistance from Pueblo County and the State of Colorado, are utilizing the grant monies to invest in agritourism and value-added products to extend the availability of Pueblo Chile. To promote the new brand, billboards and way-finding signage promoting farm stands in Pueblo County are being installed, directing residents and visitors to where Certified Pueblo Chiles are handpicked and sold seven days a week.
Pueblo Chile grower Shane Milberger, of Milberger farms is already seeing fruits of the cooperative effort. In August 2015, Whole Foods announced a contract with Milberger Farms that will put 125,000 pounds of Pueblo Chile in Whole Foods stores in four states: Colorado, Kansas, Idaho and Utah.
The Pueblo County Economic Development and Geographic Information Systems Department is also providing technical assistance to the Pueblo Chile Growers’ Association to better market Pueblo Chile. The branding campaign will initially focus on building brand strength and recognition locally, and expand to a regional and national level throughout the course of the branding campaign.