Heat on the Horizon: Roasted Chile Pepper Time

The piquant foodstuff is on its way, by the sack-full, to Southern California.

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    How much do you adore the fiery stuff? Green chile from Hatch'll be making its way to La Puente in August. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

    Leaves on the trees going crimson? Maybe they do, around early December, but not in great numbers.

    People in turtleneck sweaters? Not so much, at least around Los Angeles, where a lighter cardigan trumps a bulkier pullover most days of the year.

    Other traditional signs of autumn? Yeah, SoCal skips most of 'em, but there are a few telling hallmarks that speak of a new season on the way. And a major one, and majorly spicy one, is when the green chile shipments begin to arrive in the region.

    That begins, in general, around early August, when the famous Hatch chile is ready for delivery and heat fans across the Southwest start their lookout for the chile-laden trucks.

    They'll be arriving, via El Rey Farms, in La Puente starting on Saturday, Aug. 9. Several Saturdays are set to follow: Aug. 16 and 23, Sept. 6 and 13. The last load after that? The one expected on Sept. 15? That depends on Mother Nature, say the people behind El Rey.

    C'mon, Mother Nature. Bring it.

    Want to order a sack or two? You can, now, but best make some room in the freezer: They've got girth. But you'll totally be through with them by mid-October, right? After you make all of those enchiladas and chilaquiles and tamales and stews? The fiery gems go faster than we think they will, every dang year.

    And we do indeed mean "fiery": mild, medium, hot, extra hot, and extra, extra hot. Oh yeah. Is this the year you go "extra, extra"?

    El Rey Farms, which has land in the Hatch area, has been trucking the good stuff into Southern California since 1970. Can't get to the Land of Enchantment for your autumn heat? They'll bring it to you, or to La Puente High School, rather, come August.

    So is this when autumn truly kicks off 'round these parts? Chile, that tasty harbinger of a Southern California fall.

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