What to Know
- Green chile, grown in Hatch, New Mexico, will be roasted in several Southern California grocery store parking lots in the weeks ahead
- Melissa's Produce has posted the schedule for a number of local grocery stores
- Prices vary, but purchasing the roasted chiles in 10-pound boxes is common; different heat levels are available
The aromas of August are plentiful, memorable, and distinctly tied to the final full month of summertime.
Think of tomatoes or corn, two succulent stars of the eighth month, sizzling on a hot grill, or try to summon the smell of a thunderstorm rolling in off the mountains.
Even back-to-school items, from new backpacks to fresh erasers, boast their own aromatic profiles.
But few August icons have the olfactory oomph of green chile pods tumbling over an open flame.
Call the singular scent deep, earthy, smoky, or all of the above, but know that it can only be enjoyed in the weeks just before September arrives, and perhaps a few weeks into September, too.
For that's the short, spicy, and sweet window for Hatch chile roasting, both in New Mexico, where Hatch is located, and in those places that boast a plethora of devoted and enthusiastic chileheads.
Southern California is most certainly one of those regions, and a number of grocery stores feature pop-up roasting events in their parking lots over several August and September weekends.
California's own Melissa's Produce is behind several of those aroma-strong, heat-happy happenings, and the company has just released a list of where to find the roasters locally.
If the Albertsons in Reseda is your store, and you're hoping to fill your freezer with hundreds of tempting chile pods for wintertime stews, rellenos, and enchiladas, best mark Aug. 28, 2021 on your calendar.
That's the same date that the roasters'll be turning at the Bristol Farms in Long Beach.
And at the Gelson's in Valley Village? Aug. 21 is going to be the spiciest Saturday of your month.
Good to know about this seed-filled superstar?
Hatch chiles can and do boast varying levels of heat, so you'll need to determine if you want to go with mild, medium, or something so searingly strong that you'll need to keep a cold gallon of milk at the ready, should your mouth become molten.
Also? Some stores create their own appetizing chile-packed products, goodies that are sold alongside the boxes of freshly roasted chiles. In years gone by, Bristol Farms has gone with a green chile cornbread, a green chile queso, green chile-flecked cheese, and chile-themed tortilla chips, too.
So best see if your store is doing something special.
But isn't it special enough, to be able to find, buy, and enjoy this Land of Enchantment delicacy right here in Southern California? Without making the 13-hour drive to Hatch to pick up a bag?
It's a beautiful drive and destination, it's true. But if you're hoping to swing by your local Golden State store in the weeks ahead, for 20 pounds of piquant chile goodness, that can absolutely happen, thanks to Melissa's Produce.
Check out all the spots, dates, and things you need to know now.