Team Super Mamas has a thing for chile 🌶️. This past weekend, Melissa’s Produce invited us to join their event team for a live Hatch Chile Roasting at a local Northgate Market. Hatch green chiles are similar to Anaheim Chile that we know and love, but instead are specific to Hatch Valley in Southern New Mexico, so we jumped on the opportunity to experience this live chile roasting.
We arrived at Northgate Market in Long Beach, California to a large group of people waiting for their hatch chiles to be roasted. We knew it was a big deal, but not like this! Chile lovers had been standing in line since 6AM that morning to purchase their boxes of chiles for the year. Many people purchase in bulk and then freeze a portion to last them to next season.
Lacy and Peter with Melissa’s Produce welcomed us and not only explained the roasting process but also helped us choose our own chiles. Then they walked us through the market and showed us all the great products customers could purchase - anything from fresh chiles to dried and powder hatch chile, plus hatch chile polenta, tortillas, bolillo con queso y rajas de chile hatch (so incredible 🤤), hatch chile muffins and pan de elote. Even the hot bar had items like macaroni & cheese with chiles, chicken & hatch chile tamales and ceviche with hatch chile. The combinations were endless and each Northgate Market has a variety of fresh hatch chile items that are available for purchase.
We also spoke with Fernando, the head buyer of hatch chiles for Melissa’s Produce, who gave us some fun facts about the veggie. He told us one thing to remember about hatch chile season is that it’s over almost as fast as it arrives, and harvesting really depends on weather conditions. A storm or cooler weather could roll in for two to three weeks, like it did this year, and could delay the maturity of the chiles.
The hotter the weather patterns prior to hatch chile season, the hotter the chiles will be.
Mild chiles are longer, hotter chiles are a bit shorter and the lumbre, or fire, chiles are the shortest.
At the end of the season, the chiles get ripe, turn red and get a sweeter flavor. Around Labor Day, the chiles are the most mature, have thicker wall (perfect for chile rellenos) and tend to be spiciest.
50% of the crop is to sell fresh chiles and 50% is for processing - salsas, powder, frozen - but it’s definitely not as good as fresh hatch chile!
There are two weeks left of Hatch Chile season and you have a few more opportunities to join Melissa’s Produce for a live roasting! Join the Melissa’s Produce team on Saturday, September 7th at the following locations. The events start at 7AM and run until 2PM or until chiles run out.
Northgate Market La Habra
1305 W. Whittier Blvd. La Habra, CA 90631
Northgate Market Vista
1150 E. Vista Way Vista, CA 92084
Don’t forget to check out your local Northgate Market for more delicious hatch chile items and if you’ve already purchased your chiles for the season, you can find delicious recipes like Hatch Chile Deviled Eggs, Roasted Hatch Chile Mc n’ Cheese, Hatch Chile Apple Pie and more at Melissas.com.
Major thanks to Melissa’s Produce for the invite!