The historical marker tells the story better than I could:
Originally established as Santa Barbara in 1851, Apache raids drove the settlers away until 1853 when nearby Fort Thorn was established. Abandoned again in 1860 after the fort closed, it was re-occuped in 1875 and re-named for General Edward Hatch, then Commander of the New Mexico Military District.
So Hatch has a history of being raided, abandoned, reclaimed, abandoned again, and finally settled for good. The village of Hatch wasn't incorporated officially until 1928, and has since grown into a major player in the growing of chile, especially green chile.
When driving through Hatch, one becomes immediately aware of the agriculture surrounding the village. Besides green chile, Hatch also grows onions, pecans, alfalfa, lettuce, cabbage, sweet potatoes, wheat, and cotton. It's hard not to notice the miles and miles of green fields and pecan orchards that dot the landscape around Hatch for miles in all directions.
My favorite road to reach Hatch is New Mexico State Road 185, which hugs the Rio Grande for awhile, and ends up going through Radium Springs before entering the western edge of the village of Doña Ana and eventually Las Cruces. When you reach Las Cruces, 185 turns into Valley Drive. It's a beautiful road that takes you right along the edge of the Robledo Mountains, and it is the only place in Doña Ana County I've encountered javelinas along the road side. I recommend this beautiful road.
Nowadays Hatch is known for its food. So I need to discuss a Hatch institution, Sparky's. Sparky's is home to the best green chile cheeseburger on the face of the planet as far as I'm concerned. It has a nice atmosphere as well. Sparky's was named as the third best burger joint in America on TripAdvisor this past summer.
Apart from Sparky's, another personal favorite is Pepper Pot. The Pepper Pot is located right around the corner from Sparky's on Hall Street. I first saw Pepper Pot on Anthony Bourdain's show No Reservations, and we decided to try it. There are many choices for Mexican food in Las Cruces and even in Hatch, but what I liked about Pepper Pot was how insanely good their green chile selection was. But seriously, when in Hatch, you can't go wrong, good food is everywhere you turn.
My sources for this post are as follows:
- Wikipedia: There's not a lot out there on Hatch, and this was a good starting point. Sometimes the simplest places are the best places.
- Village of Hatch.org: It's a small site, but a must for anyone interested in visiting the village.
- Hatch Chile Fest.com: I found information on the diverse agriculture of the are. If you're planning a chile fest trip, check out the official site.
- Las Uvas Mountains WSA: Information on the mountains near Hatch.
- Sparky's Barbecue: The official website for a very yummy burger place that has many other offerings.
- TripAdvisor Serves Up America's Best Burger Joints: The article naming Sparky's as the third best burger in the US.