The “Hatch Hype” as we call it at DLM is HERE! But the hype is only as good as the product, and that story has been over a hundred years in the making. These beautiful green chiles are grown in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico. We love the flavor of roasted Hatch Chiles, so offering chiles from our open-flame roaster has become an annual tradition.
Last year, DLM’s Dennis Chrisman, VP of Produce and Springboro Store Director, and I went to Hatch, New Mexico. We met with Chris Franzoy, owner of Young Guns Produce. In 1917, his great-grandparents arrived in America from Tyrol, Austria, and settled in the Hatch Valley. They quickly adapted to the culture and became farmers. Ten children and some years later, this family has been instrumental in expanding the farming of these chiles in the area.
It was amazing to see such green fields in what many consider a desert. Chris told us how Hatch “Valley” is actually at 4,000-feet elevation, which explained the hot, arid climate. While the outside temperature was about 100 degrees, the humidity was only about 28%. Being blessed with a water supply in the form of the Rio Grande to the north and an underground aquifer, Chris indicated that underground irrigation was necessary.
Hatch Chiles have to be hand-harvested because the plants have to be left intact in order to obtain multiple harvests during the growing season. Workers trained in properly harvesting are essential to get the best chiles. Once picked, they’re quickly sent to the processing facility for cleaning, cooling, and sorting before being packed for shipping.
Finally, we discussed one of my favorite subjects—chile roasting! Chris said that roasting at a high temperature and as quickly as possible was the way to get the best product. As we were leaving town, we were fortunate to see this in action with a roadside setup. And oh, the aroma! To say the least, it was a wonderful experience as the chile culture is so inherent in New Mexico and contributes to a sense of community.
The great forethought, planning, and execution evident in the Young Guns operation was an excellent example of the passion that this family has toward their Hatch Chiles. This level of dedication to a superior product, along with a well developed sense of community, felt familiar. I believe these concepts are evident in the daily operations here at DLM. And all the associates in the DLM family are an integral part of this process. Pulling back the curtain ultimately reveals the heavy lifting needed to make the magic possible.
Thanks to everyone who has stopped to say “hi” while I’ve been roasting Hatch Chiles at various times at different DLM locations. Although we’ll keep roasting as needed throughout the week, you can count on seeing me in action with the roaster at DLM Oakwood from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14! See you soon.