Chiles are the number one cash crop in New Mexico,1 so it makes sense that the official state vegetable is the chile, but New Mexico isn’t stopping there. Senate Bill 188 (Soules) proposes adopting an official state aroma, (very) specifically “the aroma of green chile roasting in the fall.”2
Senator Soules got the idea for this designation after visiting a fifth-grade classroom for a discussion of the various state emblems. The bill has already passed one committee and Soules plans on passing out fresh roasted chiles to the legislators when the bill hits the Senate floor. So far, no one is opposing the bill.
New Mexico has yet another chile-related emblem: The official state question is, “Red or green?” referring to which type of chile is preferred when ordering New Mexican cuisine. If you want both, the correct response is “Christmas.”
Here are a few other interesting state emblems:3
- Although “Kansas” and “wine” seemingly may not go hand-in-hand, Kansas is home to 50 vineyards and wineries and has official state red and white wine grapes: Chambourcin and Vignoles, respectively.
- In 2013, Oregon was the first state to name an official state microbe: brewer’s yeast, or Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Since then, two more states have declared official state microbes: New Jersey (Streptomyces griseus) and Illinois (Penicillium rubens).
- In 1962, Maryland designated jousting as its official state sport. It is unknown if the designation included giant turkey legs and steins of beer for all.
- Georgia’s State Beef Barbecue Championship Cook-Off is the Shoot the Bull Barbecue Championship. Do not get this confused with the State Chicken Barbecue Championship Cook-Off or the State Beef Barbecue Semi-Final Cook-Off.
- In 2021, California Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia gutted a bill on funeral expense assistance to name the date shake as the official state milkshake. Date shake fans statewide are still waiting, though, because the bill… died.4