Better Hatch Your Chile Plans Now

El Rey Farms preps for its mega green chile roast.

Ask anyone who has spent a fall day in the Land of Enchantment what comes to mind, and "the scent of roasting green chile" is up there. Way up there.

Oh, and it is chile, with an "e" at the end. Never, ever "chili."

New Mexicans love the smell of crackling, popping chile-with-an-e, and they love eating it more. El Rey Farms knows the New Mexican's chile-based need, and every late summer and early fall the farms truck in thousands upon thousands of hot little pods straight from the center of all chile goodness, Hatch, New Mexico.

Step two: El Rey sets up shop in the La Puente High School parking lot over five Saturdays (though not consecutive Saturdays, we'll note); Saturday #1 for 2010 will be Aug. 14. They then roast and sell sacks upon sacks of the foodie favorite to happy chile eaters, who have placed their orders with El Rey ahead of time.

The sacks come in different quantities and prices and heat levels. One medium sack of green chiles runs $36.50. Buy five to nine sacks and the per-sack price drops to $35.50. (Anyone who is buying five sacks of chiles is someone we automatically admire.)

We have been to La Puente High on a warm and busy and chile-packed August morning. And we say this -- get your order in now if you're chile-mad. Here are the numbers: 562-946-8040 or 562-946-9423. Check out the El Rey Farms site for more info, too. El Rey says "quantities are limited" for each Saturday load and we do definitely believe that.

If you go, and you get your assigned Saturday, you'll wait a bit for your chile, so just be patient and bask in the roasty aromas. But, bet you'll meet a lot of New Mexicans who now call California home, as well as locals who just have to have their Hatch every fall. And you'll want to make space in your freezer for your roasted chile. You'll be making fiery stews and enchiladas and tamales throughout the winter for satisfied, cockles-warmed friends.

Truly, the Scoville scale is the only thing we should be using to measure our life satisfaction.

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