This season has been an interesting one to say the least. It started out incredibly slow. Part of the reason might be that other chile roasters started roasting in July, while we begin in August. The heat waves this year did contribute to an earlier chile season than normal. Regardless, we won’t sell chile that early, as immature chile doesn’t roast well, and doesn’t have the bountiful flavor which we come to expect from New Mexico chile. Waiting for quality is more important to us than being the first to sell chile.

The late summer months also brought with them monsoons, which definitely harmed a lot of crops. Chile was more insulated, as the plants grew so well early in the season, so were able to weather the rains better. Other crops, such as melons were greatly affected.

A change to seasonal business

Although we started as a produce market back in 1962, for the last 3 years, we have been a seasonal business based around the New Mexico chile season, opening in August and closing at the end of October. There are pros and cons to this business model. One positive is that it frees us up to work on other projects, such as developing this website.

A negative aspect is that it can be difficult to build momentum sometimes. It is difficult to judge how busy we will be and plan for it. When we ran Farmers Market year round, there was always a natural increase in business in the summer months, culminating in the chile season. When different fruits came into season, we would always become more and more busy, as customers would come in to get whatever they were looking for. We continue to sell various seasonal fruits, but don’t have the space to have as much variety.

Instead, we try to focus as much on quality local produce as possible. This year, we were able to sell local apples, cantaloupe, watermelons, onions, posole, and more. We have a lot more than just chile.

The 2021 New Mexico chile season

Going back to chile, overall it was a decent year for the crop. For some reason, it didn’t seem as hot this year as some years. The Big Jim chile variety seemed to be the most affected. It still had great flavor and size, but the Big Jim we received from both Hatch and San Antonio, New Mexico seemed to be fairly mild this year. That is just the way it goes sometimes. Agricultural products can vary immensely year by year. There is a reason why certain wine or tea vintages can be so expensive while others can be very cheap.

This year was also a year where many new chile varieties came on the market. The super hot Lumbre made a large leap forward this year, becoming much more available than in the past. In addition, plenty of farmers have been testing new varieties this year. The most famous recent chile varieties are definitely Lumbre and Ms Junie, but there are a lot more styles that we sampled this year. It takes us a while to settle on selling a new chile variety, as we want to be sure both the product and the farmer can produce a quality product consistently.

Looking forward to the 2022 chile season

We have a lot of plans to improve our chile stand for next year. There are several different major improvements we are working on, so keep us in mind when you think about where to get chile roasting in 2022. Increasing our variety of products we sell, as well as improving your customer experience is a priority. We care a lot about providing a great time while you are here, and will have a few new things to experience about New Mexico chile. We are the original chile roaster in Albuquerque, but we strive to be the best roaster in Albuquerque as well.

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