MESILLA PARK, New Mexico -- Fresh from the fields and fire-roasted, green chile peppers are in hot demand. Despite the drought, farmers in the southwest produced a good crop, but they're facing competition from cheap, foreign-grown produce.
"We're taking it back to some people who are out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area," said chile pepper buyer Andy Haywood.
Those who can't pick up boxes full of peppers in person pay to have chile shipped everywhere.
"Maine, Alaska, Hawaii -- every state in the U.S., we sell to," said Chris Biad, owner of Biad Chili Products.
Sales at Biad's chile company are up by 25 percent this year. During the harvest season employees roast, peel and package 6.5 million pounds of peppers.
While America's appetite for hot peppers has grown, so has the competition from chiles from China where labor is cheaper. To make matters worse, some of the foreign varieties are masquerading as U.S.-grown.
To compete with lower-priced peppers, Biad and other growers are offering organic and heirloom varieties since customers are willing to pay more.
"Not only do they have five times the flavor, but they also have consistency in heat, size and thickness, and that's what we want to have," Biad said.
All the chile picked this time of year is green, but you can already see signs of fall -- by October, all the chile in the fields will be red.
Growers hope they can stay out of the red by focusing on flavor as competition heats up.