Hatch Chilis

“Kissed by the Southwest sun”: New Mexico’s Hatch Chili Festival

September 3, 2021

Updates on the popular hatch chili festival in Hatch, New Mexico including where to find them in the U.S. this year

Consider this article to be your 2021 guide to hatch chili season. The halt to the popular Hatch Chili Festival in 2020 was likely lamented by New Mexico and fans of the pepper around the world. But we all knew the halt was temporary.

Now we’re looking forward to the return of the Hatch Chili Festival in 2021 September — scheduled for Labor Day weekend.

In the past, people have missed out and opted for roasted, frozen options. The season is short, and typically runs in the Hatch Valley from August through the end of September.

Though it’s the only time you’re able to purchase fresh, authentic hatch chile peppers, chili sometimes comes off by middle of July or is harvested late into October we’ve even harvested into the third week of October due to warm weather.

Read more about how the weather affects the chili season here.

In this 2021 hatch chili guide and update, we’ll be addressing the following:

  • Labor Day weekend in New Mexico (jam-packed with heat)

  • Staying local: A quick list of where to find hatch chilies in the U.S.

  • A delicious hatch chili recipe to send off summer and welcome fall

AN INTRODUCTION TO HATCH CHILIES & HATCH, NEW MEXICO

We wouldn’t be true to our Mexican heritage if we didn’t boast about hatch chili season this year. In 2019 we wrote about hatch chili, highlighting the ideal growing conditions of New Mexico’s climate, ways to  prepare and eat hatch chilies, and dishes where the chili is the star.

The hatch chili season is currently at its peak, running from early August to the end of September. This means we’ll soon be stocking our market with hatch chilies in all forms — freshly roasted, salsa-fied, and more.

To be clear: True, authentic, genuine hatch chile peppers hail from the Hatch Valley in New Mexico. Though you’ll find peppers labelled “Hatch,” some have been grown outside of the Hatch Valley region.

Places like Texas, Colorado, Arizona, and Mexico grow imitation peppers. These peppers are also sold under names like Big Jim, Barker, R-Naky, and New Mexico chile peppers. But for the true Hatch experience, purchase your peppers from Hatch Valley distributors.

Known worldwide for its bountiful chile crop, Hatch Valley also grows onions, pecans, alfalfa, lettuce, cabbage, sweet potatoes, wheat, cotton, and other crops. (The Hatch Chili is the star, of course!)

LABOR DAY WEEKEND IN NEW MEXICO (JAM-PACKED WITH HEAT & OTHER FESTIVIES)

As summer cools down, the Village of Hatch heats up! The annual festival promotes world-famous Hatch Chile on Labor Day weekend, attracting over 30,000 visitors from around the U.S. and the world. These visitors include such notables as the Food Network and the BBC.

Festival goers can sample famed chile recipes, watch the crowning of the chile festival queen, or toss a horseshoe in celebration of our most famous crop.

You can read more about Hatch Valley here.

This year’s festival is being organized by the Hatch Valley Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with community members, businesses, and various organizations from Hatch Valley.

Festival features would include an all-new, in-town experience where customers can shop the streets of Hatch with more ease. Local shops and restaurants will satisfy chili fixes while traditional vendors and events will continue to make the Hatch Chili Festival known throughout the U.S. and the world. 

And guess what else? This year’s festival will include a parade, carnival, and entertainment provided by local businesses along with volleyball, soccer, and softball tournaments!

To find out more about the Labor Day festivities, check out this article.

STAYING LOCAL: A QUICK LIST OF WHERE TO FIND HATCH CHILIES IN THE U.S.

It used to be that you couldn’t get Hatch chile peppers outside of the Hatch, New Mexico region, but they are quickly becoming more and more available at local grocery stores of through online retailers.

As we mentioned earlier, hatch chilies could be kept frozen; they’re easily preserved and very delicious this way. As a result, some have ordered roasted Hatch chile peppers online and gotten them delivered frozen.

Below is a list of popular places throughout the U.S. that carry Hatch chili peppers in August and September, in-person or online:

  • (In person) Stater Bros.: Hatch Chiles are a seasonal pepper that are available at every Stater Bros. Market’s produce section.

  • (In person) Ralph’s: Annual hatch chile roastings coming to a Ralph’s near you! Check out Southern California locations here.

  • (In person/Online) 505 Southwestern: Purchase jars of roasted Hatch green chile in cases of six online and in select stores. Just type in your location and get a list of stores near you (if applicable).

  • (In person/Online) Hatch Chile Express: Buy whole or diced flame-roasted, hand-peeled, frozen Hatch green chile from their online store. You can choose a single spice level or specify a mix of varieties for the 10-pound box of whole Hatch green chile and 14-pound box of diced Hatch green chile.

  •  (Online) The Hatch Green Chile: For your never-ending supply of delicious hatch chili in all forms. You can order 5, 10, and 25 pound boxes filled with fresh, plump pods in mild, medium, medium-hot, hot, and x-hot. And you can get the chili shipped straight to your door for convenience.

Learn more about where to find hatch chilies here.

A DELICOUS HATCH CHILI RECIPE TO SEND OFF SUMMER AND WELCOME FALL

Here’s a quick and easy salsa recipe made with Hatch chilies, heirloom tomatoes, onion, garlic, lime juice and cilantro.

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 25 mins

Total Time: 40 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Hatch chile peppers

  • 2.5 pounds heirloom tomatoes

  • 1 medium white onion

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • Juice from 1 lime

  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro

  • Salt to taste

  1. First, roast the peppers. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Slice the Hatch chile peppers and tomatoes in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds from the peppers. Set them all onto baking sheets.

  3. Slice the onion into chunks and place them onto the baking sheets along with the garlic.

  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the pepper skins are nicely charred.

  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Peel the skins from the peppers and tomatoes and discard. Drop the peppers and tomatoes into a food processor.

  6. Squeeze garlic from their skins and place them into the food processor along with the onion.

  7. Add lime juice, cilantro and salt. Process until smooth.

  8. Adjust for salt and set into a covered bowl.

  9. Refrigerate a few hours to allow flavors to mingle.

This is as simple as it gets! Eat this with

But if you’re interested in more hatch chili recipes, click here.