Chili - Famers Market

As August marks the start of the school year, Aug. 11 will also mark the beginning of chili season for Southern California.

Gelson’s and Bristol Farms will be kicking off Hatch chili season this year with on-site roasting while the local farmers market will feature locally grown varieties.

Along with the roasting events, these sought-after savory chilies will be available in-store at Gelson’s and Bristol Farms through September. Both stores’ events will feature music, chili-samplings, recipe sharing and lunch foods along with the roastings.

Hatch chilis, hailing from Hatch, New Mexico in southwest New Mexico, are seasonal mild peppers that have become a popular end-of-summer commodity in Southern California. Their short-lived season spans from early August to early September and the chilies can be used in a variety dishes to elevate spiciness. Hatches’ heat is near that of a jalapeño and they are commonly seen in egg dishes, cheeses, breads, soups and salsas.

Both Bristol Farms and Gelson’s will be offering on-site roastings this chili season. Gelson’s will be from 3-7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 7 and Bristol will be hosting their roasting on Saturday, Sept. 8 from 10 – 2 p.m. Along with the physical chili-roasting, the events will have music, cooking demonstrations, chili samplings, recipe sharing and other foods available for purchase.

Along with their roasting events, Bristol Farms and Gelson’s have been showcasing the chilies through specialty dishes in their stores. In the prepared-food section of Bristol Farms, you can find Hatch Mac n’ cheese, Hatch cornbread, Hatch cheddar cheese and Hatch guacamole. At Gelson’s, they will be having Hatch cornbread, Hatch Egg Salad, Hatch Chili/Grilled Corn/Heirloom Tomato Salad, Mini Quiche Hatch Chili, and Cream of Hatch Green Chili Soup.

In addition to Hatches, end-of-summer is chili season for several other peppers. During the month of September, Santa Monica’s farmers market will be hosting their annual weekend roastings. Since the California legislature prohibits farmer’s markets to sell non-California-grown produce, the roastings will be showcasing Anaheim peppers, poblanos, jalapeños and pasilla peppers instead of the New Mexico-grown hatches.

The roastings will take place every Saturday in the month of September from 9 a.m. to sell out in the Virginia Avenue Park. Farmers market peppers retailed for three dollars per pound last year and they will offer half-pound options if preferred. The roasted peppers vary in heat and are all able to be stored frozen.