Green chile roaster roasting Hatch chile in Albuquerque

What is Green Chile

Green chile is arguably the most important ingredient in New Mexican cuisine. Also commonly referred to as Hatch chile, the New Mexico green chile season is something most people in New Mexico look forward to every year. Every year around early August, the state and surrounding areas come alive with the roar of chile roasters. The smell of roasted chile, the state’s official aroma, permeates through the air on many street corners throughout the state as popup roasters, mom n pop shops, and even the big grocery conglomerates all fire up their chile roasters. A protip, don’t get chile roasted at a big store, because they typically don’t train their roasters well, give them shade, or even a bump in pay. Turnover and burnout is high at those kind of places.

Scenery from a San Antonio, New Mexico chile farm
Chile farms are beautiful aren’t they?

Difference between green and red chile

The main reason why people get more excited about the chile season for green chile is that most red chile is consumed as a red chile sauce made with sundried red chile pods. Outside of freak occurrences like the red chile shortage of 2023, dried red chile is typically quite easy to get at any time of the year. Green chile is typically flame roasted and peeled, before being used as a topping, a central ingredient like chile rellenos, or made into a sauce. Although it is still available from large stores frozen, the best quality and value can always be gotten fresh during the chile season.

Red chile when it is fresh is quite sweet, as the fruit has more time to mature and sweeten up. Fresh or roasted red chile is much harder to find, as even most chile roasters don’t deal with it. The technique to roast is much more complicated than green. Arguably red chile is a little hotter as it has more time to develop heat, but the difference is not as much as some people say. A green chile which is labeled extra hot should still be quite hot.

a sack of chile pintado, mixed red and green chile roasting during peak Hatch chile season
If you get chile in October, you can have the best of both red and green with Autumn roast!

Where to get chile roasted in Albuquerque

If you are looking to get some green chile roasted in Albuqerque, there is only one place that has been doing it since 1977. Farmers Chile Market, located at 2010 Eubank Blvd NE, or just Farmers Market back then, started the Albuquerque chile roasting tradition when the owner Jhett was just 19 years old.

Since then, roasted chile has overtaken the city, and it seems like you can find chile roasters on most major street corners these days. In New Mexico, whether you spell it chile or chili, it isn’t hard to find a chile roaster blasting away during the season. Even large grocery chains set up roasters, but generally the chile and roast quality is not as good.

August is typically the start of the chile season, and we usually only have green chile available to roast then. In September and October we also can roast up fresh red chile too! For those of you who like more sweetness in your food, I highly recommend trying fresh red roasted. Keep in mind that the peel of red chile is more mature, and doesn’t come off as easily as roasted green chile!

Check out our post for where to get roasted chile in 2024!

A New Mexico Tradition

The fact is, green and red chile are part of the fabric which makes up Albuquerque and every other city and town in New Mexico. Whether you want to roast it yourself in the oven, or have us roast it on our barrel roasters, chile roasting is a staple of life in every corner of New Mexico. There is a reason we always ask the question “green or red?” when it comes to our favorite spicy food.

Often, chile roasters become almost like a town hall, with many people coming together and discussing chile, life, and making new friendships as they watch their chile being roasted. It is one of the things that really unites New Mexicans. Everyone has the experience of getting fresh roasted chile, whether they buy it themselves or get some from their friends and family. In an election year like 2024, it is important for people with differing political views to find common ground in local traditions like New Mexico chile. We are all the same at our core, regardless of whatever problematic old man you reluctantly support this year.

If you are looking for chile roasting in Albuquerque, you can find us roasting from August 2nd 2024 to the end of October at 2010 Eubank Blvd NE in Albuquerque, New Mexico 87112. Additionally, we continue to sell chile products until Christmas! If you have any questions about flavors or varieties of chile, or other local produce which we carry, you can call 505-362-3058 or message our facebook page. More than just fresh roasted chile, we also have plenty of other chile products, such as chile ristras to choose from.

A group of 2 foot Hatch chile ristras in front of Farmers Chile Market "chile" graffiti
Chile ristras are a great double use item. Not only beautiful, but delicious too!

A commitment to quality roasted chile

We aim to please, and always offer the highest quality chile we can find. There is a reason our chile is priced higher than major grocery stores. It costs more to grow and handle. Chile for us isn’t some afterthought loss leader. It is everything we do. If we didn’t maintain high quality control standards, we wouldn’t be in business. I’m 34 and in the prime of my life, don’t expect us to take any steps back while I’m in charge. You can find out more about me here, and why my chile roaster is where you should shop for red and green New Mexico chile this chile season and many more to come.

We care a lot about your satisfaction. If you have any requests, we will try to accommodate them. You are always welcome to sample the chile we sell before you buy, and can mix flavors if you want a spice level that better suits you. We can even roast garlic or onions with your chile, which takes the fragrance up a notch. When it comes to delicious spicy food, New Mexico chile is a wonderful ingredient. Why not prepare it exactly how you want it?

So next time you are wondering “where to get chile roasting near me,” just remember Farmers Chile Market at 2010 Eubank in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

New Ways to use roasted chile

In New Mexico, there are many innovators in the chile space. This includes red chile chocolate, chips, popcorn, candies, and much more. Jesse from Breaking Bad even included it in some of his illegal substances, before Heisenberg put a stop to it. I also try to push the envelope in my chile roasting sphere, such as doing chile blends or roasting Lumbre chile with fresh ghost peppers to make a XXXXX-hot roast. The sky is the limit with what we can do with chile, and I am always interested in working with different innovative restaurants, breweries, and more to make some special chile concoctions. New Mexico has amazing food, and I want to be part of pushing our cuisine to receive more gastronomic recognition, both at home and abroad.

If you are interested in unique ways to prepare green chile, try fermenting it. Fermentation is another passion project of mine, and I love finding different ways to use New Mexico chile. My favorite unusual thing I’ve made so far is a lasagna using the acidic brine from fermented Hatch chile. The acidity from the lactic fermentation was a great way to separate the curds from the whey!

two bags of fresh roasted Hatch green chile ready to ferment. One bag is already peeled, and one bag has the charred peel still on
A test between flavors of peeled vs unpeeled roasted chile fermentation. I preferred the smoky peel.