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When is the Hatch Chile Festival?

The Hatch Chile Festival

The Hatch Chile Festival, event of legend among chile aficionados the world over and just one part of why hatch chile is considered the very best of what our wonderful state has to offer. Though other types of New Mexican grown chile such as chimayo are know by many New Mexicans, its “Hatch” that has become a household name outside of our state. The festival is arguably the most important two to three days of the year in our tiny town and has contributed to the success of “Hatch Chile” outside of the state. After all, its why we’re the chile capital of the world! Similar to our post answering the question “when is hatch chile season“, this post is supposed to answer another common question we hear here at The Hatch Chile Store. That question is “when is the hatch chile festival?” (obviously) and we’ll answer it below 🙂

Hatch Chile Festival Grounds
The festival grounds
Traffic at the Hatch Chile Festival
Cars lining up for the festival
Chile Festival Queen 2010
Chile Festival Queen 2010

So, just when is the hatch chile festival? The festival is held every Labor Day weekend out at the Hatch Municipal Airport. The airport is located a mile or so out of town on NM Highway 26 (the road from Hatch to Deming). Although the airport and our town aren’t the most glamorous settings for an international event, the chile makes it worth attending. I’d compare our town to that hole in the wall restaurant that has food so good you keep coming back. It may not be well lit, it may not be in a beautiful building, but the food is so damn good you just don’t care!

Down the "Hatch" goes a chile!
Down the “Hatch” goes a chile!


If you’d like more information about the festival, head to the official hatch chile festival website and take a look at the informational pages they’ve published. You can also become a sponsor of the festival and see some beautiful photographs of the festival at their “festival scenes” page. The festival has traditionally been managed by a committee of locals but starting in 2014 it will be primarily managed by a commercial vendor from Albuquerque. Why? Well, unfortunately the local folks who’ve always managed the festival have day jobs that are getting in the way of managing the chile festival. Though I can’t blame them, its sad to see the festival be taken over by a non-local. Hopefully, the festival goes off without a hitch and more locals will get involved again in the future!

Hatch Chile Eating Contest!
Hatch Chile Eating Contest!


I hope I’ve answered the question that likely brought you here (being when is the hatch chile festival) and provided you with a little background about what makes the festival special. If you have further questions, feel free to ask them in the comments or shoot us an email at We typically respond to email very quickly so don’t be shy!

Sunset after the festival :)
Sunset after the festival 🙂
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Roasted Chile Giveaway

We’re giving away a 5lb box of flame roasted, hand peeled hatch green chile!

Head to our Hatch Chile Giveaway Page on Facebook and follow the instructions to enter. Basically, all you have to do is like our facebook page and enter your name, email, and the flavor of chile you’d like to enter. Additional entrances can be obtained by clicking on the “share” button found on the giveaway page but you’re limited to re-sharing once per day.

If you have any questions, feel free to email us at

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Red Chile Enchiladas

Red Chile Enchiladas

This recipe for traditional or christmas style red chile enchiladas comes courtesy of one of our valued customers. We’d like to extend a big thank you to William and Stacy Layman for allowing us to post it online.

Start by cooking a whole chicken in boiling water with celery, onion, and bay leaf until the leg falls off when grabbed. Remove chicken, cool and take meat off. Strain liquid, retain, toss the rest. Once you have your protein prepared, you can move on to the sauce itself.

The Red Chile Sauce:

Saute finely chopped onion in oil (1/4 cup onion, 1/8 cup oil) add chopped garlic, 1/4 cup flour add 1 tbs cumin 1 tbs ground coriander 2 tbs oregano bubble on med low to make a paste Add 5 cups chicken liquid, 1 cup ground red chile.

Next, boil and continually stir to prevent the bottom from scalding. Turn down to simmer.

At this point some people add the following to their red chile enchiladas:

  • -Chocolate Mole’ Honey Tomato Paste (Optional)
  • -A little dark chocolate and honey (Optional)
  • -salt to taste

Cook 1-2 hours and stir your red enchilada sauce often.

The Red Chile Enchiladas:Red Chile Enchiladas

Chop cleaned chicken add to 1-2 cups chicken liquid (add 5-8 chopped green chiles for christmas style at this point) add oregano, cumin, salt, pepper cook on low to combine flavors.

Heat oil in skillet to medium lightly fry 1-2 dozen corn tortillas (depending on size of chicken) set aside softened tortillas to cool.

Roll strained meat mixture in tortilla 1 1/2 inch diameter – optional cheese Lay in baking dish, cover w/red sauce Cover top w/cheese -cook at 350 20 min.

Serve the red chile enchiladas with sour cream, salsa, etc (substitutions may be made – depending on availability).

For best results, make these red chile enchiladas using our fresh or frozen hatch green chile and our fresh red chile . We ship only the very best of what we grow so its guaranteed to be good. Besides, starting with the best ingredients always helps, right?

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When is Hatch Chile Season?

Hatch Chile Fields

As hatch chile continues to become more and more popular around the country, some interesting questions start to become common for us to hear. For instance, “just when is hatch chile season”? One of the biggest complaints we receive from potential customers is that they missed the fresh hatch green chile season. Because the season is so short (and it’s the only time that you’re able to purchase fresh, authentic hatch chile peppers) many people miss out and have to order our more expensive roasted, frozen option.

The typical season for chile here in the Hatch Valley runs from the first of August through the end of September. However, depending on the weather, we may have chile coming off by mid July. Some years, we’ve even harvested into the third week of October due to warm weather. On average, the season comes and goes pretty quickly though! This is why we recommend pre-ordering earlier in the year (plus we give you a great 15% discount on early orders). One thing that sets our farm apart is our pick-n-ship policy, meaning we load your order of fresh hatch green chile onto a FedEx truck the same day it’s picked from our fields. This ensures your order of fresh is as fresh as is physically possible on delivery.

Hatch Green Chile Fields
Our fields in the Hatch Valley.

If you DO miss the season, like I mentioned earlier, we’ve still got you covered with our flame roasted, frozen green chile. We flame roast and hand peel our frozen chile in the traditional New Mexico style, and then freeze them in vacuum-sealed bags before shipping them to you overnight on ice. Though its much pricier than our fresh chile, frozen is actually a really good deal. Not only do you have more finished product (5lbs of frozen is the equivalent of around 10lbs of fresh) you also don’t have to go through the lengthy process of roasted, peeling, packaging, and freezing your chile. If that’s half the fun for you and your family, stick with the fresh! But, you enjoy just pulling a package out of the freezer and getting right to cooking with it, you should definitely try our frozen.

Frozen Hatch Green Chile
Our flame roasted, frozen chile

Considering the brevity of hatch chile season, it should be no surprise that our annual Hatch Chile Festival takes place at the same time. The 2013 festival saw tens of thousands of chile connoisseurs from all over the world come to the Hatch Valley for our crazy chile-inspired festival. We’ve also written a nice article answering another popular question we get “When is the Hatch Chile Festival“. The hatch chile festival is part of what has made our town so famous and has been going on for decades in our tiny little town.

Hatch Chile Festival
Cars start to arrive at the festival.

If you see “fresh” hatch chile being sold at other times of year, then it’s not the real deal. We often see chile from China or South America advertised as “Hatch Chile” and think it’s a real shame. Of course, we hope you’ll choose to order your fresh hatch green chile direct from us here at The Hatch Chile Store but regardless of where you get your chile, don’t let it be fake!

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A Berridge Chile Queen!

This year my cousin, Alexandria Berridge was selected the 2006 Chile Festival’s Green Chile Queen.

Our 2006 Hatch Chile Queen!
Our 2006 Hatch Chile Queen!

We are very proud of Alex and are thrilled that she’s been selected. She was recently interviewed by the Christian Science Monitor and has been on local TV stations in El Paso and Albuquerque as an ambassador for Hatch Chile. Alex grew up on the farm and has been involved in our chile operation her whole life.