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Mar 24, 2012 07:06 PM

Time a trip for max chili experiences (New Mexico)

One year we got lucky and were in Taos and Santa Fe when the chili harvest was happening and we even picked up two bushels of peppers to bring back to New Orleans.

I have no record of which month that was.

I know the time of crops varies from year to year, but I'm looking ahead to this fall. When should we plan to be in New Mexico for maximum chili-ness? Not necessarily maximum hotness, but when every restaurant will be using chilis because they can and because they want to.

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  1. The harvest is in August; the roasters around town start roasting shortly thereafter. Chile is on the menu all year long here, while fresh roasted is great, the shelf life is short therefore most is frozen immediately after roasting to provide ample supply year round.

    1. Hatch is famous for Chile. Maybe you would like the festival http://www.hatchchilefest.com/

      1 Reply
      1. re: DriverPhil

        The good year that our visit was timed right was just after the canner had stopped buying from a farmer and the farmer had gone out on his own to make Hatch well known. We had a lovely visit with he and his wife and have been fans ever since.

        Festivals are for folks who love crowds (we used to live in the French Quarter). Now we go places for history, food, and locals who are nice people.

      2. You should contact the Chile Pepper Institute at NMSU in May or June. They'll have an idea of just when the harvest will peak this year based on precipitation and so on. http://www.chilepepperinstitute.org/

        1 Reply
        1. re: ninrn

          Thank you. That should help a lot.

        2. There were fresh green chiles at the Santa Fe Farmers market from end of July into early November last year. As many as 15 growers at the peak time (late August/September), many roasting them on the spot. More interesting is that a lot of them were 'landrace' varieties of NM green chile, so size, heat, thickness varied, all are smaller than the newer mass produced hybrids from southern NM. They go by the name of the town - Nambe, Alcalde, Chimayo, Pojoaque etc. All IMHO, had more interesting flavors than the mass produced.

          1 Reply
          1. re: andrewtree

            Which (andrewtree) puts the availability of New Mexico sourced peppers in the eastern US into a real strange place because the grocery store I depend on had their source 'dry up' about four weeks before they expected it to happen. (I didn't get to freeze as many as I'd like to have.)