A Day in the Life of The Hatch Chile Store Part 3
Hey, Chile Fanatics!
Today, I am bringing you part 3 of a Day in the Life of The Hatch Chile Store!
This week, I took the drive to another part of the Valley. I went to Deming, New Mexico, where our production facilities are located. Again, I admit to being surprised by the facility. The business office for the Hatch Chile Store is small and only staffed with three of us on a regular basis. The best word for this facility would be rambling. There are lots of moving parts and lots of people!
There are designated areas for roasting chile, two large kitchens for making tamales and rellenos, numerous freezers and coolers, office space, and even a take-out restaurant!
I am going to take you through the rellenos and tamales on a different day, but for now, we'll look at roasting chile!
The roaster and peeler are in a separate part of the building. If you love the smell of roasting chile, you would not be disappointed! However, the amount of chile being roasted really intensifies that aroma.
1. Beautiful chile waiting to be roasted.
2. Chile is dumped onto the conveyor that transports the chile the length of the line.
3. Chile moving closer to the roaster.
4 -5. The long, rotating barrel of the roaster moves the chile while the burners continually roast it as it moves toward the peeler.
6. The chile moves into the peeler, another rotating barrel, where the force of the water and the rotation removes the peel from the chile.
7. Chile drops into the lower section of the peeler.
8. Chile is rinsed, removing even more peel. 9. Roasted, cleaned chile is moved to these tubs for processing.
On this day, they were roasting hot chile. I didn't know you could smell hot like this! I felt the heat all the way into my lungs. The workers wear masks and gloves to protect themselves from the heat.
We are often asked why we don't sell X-hot chile that is already roasted and frozen. After only a few hours in the roasting and processing part of the facility, I knew why! Breathing in the 'heat' of the Lumbre chile would be too hard on our fabulous crew!
The tubs of chile are moved to the processing area, This is a very hands-on process. Each chile is handled and checked for quality as it progresses through the line.
1 - 3. Tubs are brought into the processing room where workers pick up each chile to complete the peeling and remove as many seeds as possible.
4. Clean chile is stacked neatly to allow for easy packing into the bags or moving to the chopper. Chile that is broken or extra small are moved to another tub where they will be moved to the chopper.
5. Chile is put into 1 lb bags.
6. Individual bags are weighed.
7. The bags are leveled out and then vacuum sealed.
8. Bags are moved to the freezer where they are blast-cooled before being placed into the 5 lb boxes.
9. This photo shows a stack of 5 lb boxes being readied to go to the distribution center.
As you can see, processing chile is labor-intensive. It takes a large crew to move the chile through all the phases to prep it for you, the consumer.
Because the roasting season is limited due to the growing season, they work hard to process as much as possible each day. We are happy we are able to provide you with a great product in our roasted, frozen Hatch Green Chile!
I happened to be at the facility when they were shipping product to the new distribution center. Pallets are loaded onto a refrigerated truck going to the distribution center and then to you. On this day we shipped chile, tamales, rellenos, and chimichangas! I hope you enjoyed our day in Deming! I'll be bringing you more soon!
Shopping for Hatch Green Chile
If you want to roast your own chile, we are still shipping Fresh Hatch Green Chile! It is the time for the season to begin winding down, so place your order soon!
We are now accepting orders for the 2023 Season of Roasted Hatch Green Chile. It is available in Mild, Medium, or Hot in either whole or chopped.