It might have begun with the summer solstice; the longest day of 2020 was June 20. Whether we celebrate the solstice ritually or with a check mark on the calendar, it is about this time of year we start to get a stirring deep inside about changes that are coming. Days will get shorter and harvest is starting.
In the countryside, we see our plants are maturing and we’ll soon have fresh produce to enjoy. In town, we notice that summer produce is arriving at the store and that we’ll soon have local produce to enjoy.
In the Hatch Valley we see young chiles on the bush and get excited because weeks we’ll be picking and roasting green chile and can hardly wait for the air to fill with that wonderful smell.
True chileros (chile eaters) know Hatch chiles are special and have their own terroir. In French, terroir (pronounced tehRWAAR) means soil. The word has grown to mean much more. It is about place, soil type, water, climate, sunlight, angle of the sun… all the things which affect plant growth and ultimately its flavor. Over eons of time the Hatch Valley has been under oceans, the site of volcanoes, the rising and falling of mountains and the flow of rivers. Today the valley is with blessed with a rich terroir of soils and climate ideal for agriculture.
In the modern era, channelization and dams along the Rio Grande have created a beneficial water resource that, with ground water, supports chile, pecans, onions and others seasonal crops. Farmers have learned good management techniques to keep the soil rich in nutrients for their crops.
The Fresh Chile Company farms and partnering farmers take care of their soil. A field is only used once in six years to grow their chiles. In other years, crops that replenish the soil are grown, natural fertilizers and scientifically proven soil management prepare the soil for future chile crops.
Fresh Chile Co. grows a number of chile varities that go from mild to turn your face red and break into a sweat heat levels. You can choose your heat level in green chiles during the harvest season and or year ‘round from among sauces, salsas and jarred roasted chiles from their freshchileco.com website.
Some of their chiles are harvested green, others are left to ripen and dry on the bush. The bush-dried chiles are darker and have a deeper flavor than mechanically dried chile pods. That makes a difference you can both see and taste in their specialty sauces.
The Fresh Chile Co. makes both green and red chile powders for seasoning and will soon release a freeze dried green chile that reconstitutes into an amazing wet chile for cooking.
The Fresh Chile Co. offers a broad range of products and an ever-expanding selection of recipes and how to videos on their freshchileco.com website making it each to enjoy Hatch Valley terroir to your table.