Santa Cruz Chili & Spice Company Recipes & History

Order (or pick up ) our new book and delve into the southwest as you wish you'd known it. And enjoy the flavors of our region at the same time!


"Jean England Neubauer’s family has influenced Southwestern cuisine with their Santa Cruz Chili & Spice Co. seasonings for 75 years, and no Arizona kitchen worth its salt would be without a supply of their chili powder. As chef Janos Wilder notes in the foreword to this new cookbook, “I don’t think you can create the flavors of the region without it.” Neubauer shows her company’s products off to good advantage in these easy-to-follow, beautifully photographed family recipes. But this book isn’t just about the food — her family’s impact extends beyond the dining table and deep into local history. Neubauer guides readers through her family tree in a narrative rich with clan lore, from the three-times-great-grandfather who made his fortune designing the saddle used by Union soldiers in the Civil War, to the great-aunt who studied painting with a young Diego Rivera, to the great-grandfather who, while mayor of Nogales, lobbied to have a new US battleship named for the state of Arizona. Home-grown anecdotes and period photographs abound, adding flavor to this delectable volume. The Santa Cruz Chili & Spice Co. is in Tumacacori; Neubauer is its owner."

— Helene Woodhams, Arizona Daily Star, September 1, 2019

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Pioneers

Rancho el Alamo

Rancho el Alamo is the Mexican castle built by my grandfather, Beck Kibbey. This is where my mother, Juliet, cofounder of Santa Cruz Chili & Spice Co., was raised along with her sister, Sarah. This beautiful hacienda was based on Beck's fondness for castles he'd visited along the Rhine and  especially, the 13th century Harlech Castle in Wales.

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The Mix Family

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L. W. Mix

My grandmother's father, LW Mix, was active throughout Mexico and locally in the border region of the twin cities of Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora. In fact, LW was mayor of Nogales from 1913-1916 and is pictured here on the balcony at Nogales' City Hall. LW was instrumental in organizing a successful campaign and generating support to have a new U.S. battleship christened Arizona. 

History

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The Early Days

Our chili company was founded in 1943 by my father and mother, Gene and Judy England. My mother, was raised in a Mexican castle, Rancho El Alamo, built  by my grandfather. She enjoyed an extended education including California boarding school, and college at Brynn Mawr. It was a tumultuous time in the borderland region but all survived multiple Mexican revolutions.  My father, Gene, grew up in Texas, and worked as a cowboy and on the oilfields as a welder. He arrived in Arizona as a young man with extraordinary drive and varied interests. Gene was a Hollywood stunt rider, pilot, silver and coppersmith in addition to his extensive ranching endeavors.

Chilies

"Their crops included a variety of chilies but the mild Anaheim was an original hit.  Using re-purposed WWII equipment and the expertise that he developed as a welder in the oil fields, my father developed a process and built a plant that cooked the fresh chilies with pressure cookers and then ground them into a bright red chili paste. He did the same with dried chile pods grinding a rich and flavorful powder that was an instant success with chefs and grocery stores. Santa Cruz Chili Powder and Paste are unique in they contain only pure chile with no additional flavorings of spices."  J. England, Santa Cruz Chili & Spice Co. Recipes & History

Today

"The company store in Tumacacori across from the old mission has grown enormously. We now import many types of chilies and other brands to provide a wide diversity of Southwestern products. We have small offices tucked into the corner of our warehouse filled with fourth generation employees, still honoring the spirits of my parents. We remain committed to our customers, our employees, our families, our Hispanic roots, and the highest quality in our products. More recently the store houses a museum and has become a resource for books on the southwest, especially on the border area and written by local authors. "  

 J. England, Santa Cruz Chili & Spice Co. Recipes & History