This is a magical time of year in New Mexico – especially Santa Fe. Driving through town you smell the chile roasting wherever you go and it seems to signal that the summer is ending and Fiestas are near. There is something special about Green Chile especially. If you are from New Mexico chile is practically a religion. You know what the question Red or Green? means, and you know this question will be asked at every meal. The end of August / early September you wait for it, you can smell when the season has arrived, you go and buy a sack which has about 20lbs of chile, they roast it for you while you wait. Once you get home you are in store for about 3 hours of pealing chile.
Your hands burn, sometimes even blister but you do it anyways – knowing that it will be another year until you will be able to get another sack. I wondered today as I pealed my chile if I would love it as much if I could get it all the time? Sure you can buy canned chile or frozen chile year round but it is just not the same. there is something romantic about the seasonal chile rush – you meet the farmers who grew it, and you get to know who has a better crop – who’s is hotter, who’s is sweeter and you seek it out. If all of our produce was purchased this way our country would be much more sustainable. If we only purchased what was in season, if we sought out farmers who were known to have the best foods we would use our purchasing power to promote the local farmer – the community supported agriculturist. We would only buy what was in season and we would savor the flavor season to season. Maybe it is okay to not be able to get whatever we want whenever we want it – maybe its even better. Somehow chile stayed a seasonal produce, it never turned into big business. I think it is because it comes from the land of manana – New Mexican’s just haven’t gotten around to industrializing it. And hopefully never will.