it's that time again...

We didn't know it at first, but our late sumer 2003 Santa Fe vacation was during the annual green chile harvest. Driving along, we caught a whiff of a smokey, spicy... something. "What the heck is that?" It was one of the best things I'd ever smelled — roasting green chiles.

August is harvest time for New Mexico green chiles, which are shipped all over the state (and beyond). Something like 30,000 people descend on Hatch, NM (population: 1000) at peak harvest for the Hatch Chile Festival on Labor Day weekend.

And with the chiles, come the roasters; rotating metal cages, with propane-fired burners at the bottom. They're everywhere: in strip-mall parking lots, at the farmers' market, along the side of the road, even our local big-chain grocery store has one. And when you buy a bushel or a 30 lb. bag or whatever, they'll roast 'em for you, usually for free. Smaller quantities are pretty easy to roast at home, or for the really lazy (or grill-deficient) the grocery stores will often also sell small packages of pre-roasted chile. Then most people skin + freeze them for use all year long.

As soon as someone invents scratch-n-sniff for the internet, I'll post a sample. Is it weird that this smell is one of my favorite things about New Mexico?

1 comment:

Sherry said...

Thanks for the interesting facts. We've been eating green chili enchiladas for years, didn't know how they came to be.