A Day in the Life of The Hatch Chile Store Part 2
Hey, Chile Fanatics!
Today, I am bringing you part 2 of a Day in the Life of The Hatch Chile Store!
After your chile has been picked and put into large bins, it is trucked to our packing facility known as The Shed. Having not been there before with a name like The Shed, I expected it to be more primitive, I guess you could say. The facility is large with a production line that allows us to grade, clean, and pack your chile efficiently. There is also a large cooler room where chile 'rests' while other varieties are being packed. After the boxes are packed, they go into the cooler to wait for the shipping truck.
The photo to the left, shows two of the heat levels of chile that we packed this week. The X-hot chile (Lumbre) is smaller and darker. The season for Lumbre is typically shorter than the other levels. The mild is lighter and brighter. Either way, the cooler room smells amazing with the chile there resting.
Here is a brief look at the production line. Each chile is checked multiple times as they go through the line.
1. The dumper dumps the chile on the conveyor that transports the chile the length of the line.
2. Here, the hopper moves the chile along to the grading table
3. On the grading table the chile is turned and checked. Those grading, look for chile that is overripe, has soft spots, broken, or otherwise not what we want to send to you. Chile not making the grade, is deposited in the yellow section. That leads to a culled bin below the line.
4. The chile goes through a wash cycle similar to a car wash.
5. It goes through a drying cycle as well.
6. This is a secondary grading section, where the chile is checked again.
7. When the chile makes it to this last section before packing, it is checked once again before being packed into the boxes.
8. Boxes are packed here before being handed to a different line where the box tops are closed and taped, and the labels are applied.
9. The boxes are then sorted for shipping onto the appropriate pallets determined by shipping method.
Many weeks, we ship over 1000 boxes of chile! It takes approximately 15 people in The Shed to get your order from the bins to your box and then to the carrier's truck. I was excited to participate, but it is a lot more physical than what I typically do here at my computer. It is also a lot louder! Thankfully, it was a cooler day when I was there, but I know at times it can also be hotter. It is cooled by swamp coolers. If you are unfamiliar with that, it is an air conditioning system that doesn't work as well when there is humidity.
The men and women packing your chile take great pride in making sure your orders are packed correctly. We are human and can make mistakes, so we do appreciate your kindness when mistakes happen.
On this week, we packed chile until we ran out.There were still boxes that we could not pack. I wanted to cry, as I know how important it is for everyone to get their chile.
Despite our best efforts at ordering enough chile from the grower, sometimes gradeout is higher than anticipated, and sometimes we come up short on excellent quality chile to ship. Being an agricultural product, we can't just whip up more, and we appreciate your understanding when things like that happen.
Thanks for coming along with me for a day in the life. Soon, I will be heading to our roasting facility to show you chile is roasted and prepped for those of you who purchase our roasted chile. We might even get to pop in and see how the rellenos and tamales are made!
We are about halfway through the season, so it is a perfect time to get your order in forFresh Hatch Green Chile!