LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (AP) — Hatch Valley farmers are banding together to protect their brand, which to them represents a long heritage of local, home-grown food.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that The Hatch Chile Association, comprised of chile growers and producers from the valley, is actively pursuing an action with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In dispute is the use of the Hatch brand by Georgia-based company Hatch Chile Co.

Hatch Chile Association Board Member Preston Mitchell says the group believes that no one other than local growers should be able to own the Hatch name. The group hopes for a certification mark that will protect the brand.

Senior vice president of sales and marketing at Hatch Chile Co. David Gregory says the ongoing dispute has not interrupted the company’s operations.

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