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Can you smell that smell? It’s green chile roasting

It’s not every state that can boast it has an official state aroma. As a matter of fact, there’s only one state that can — New Mexico.In the midst of a busy legislative session early this year, lawmakers some how found the time to pass a bill declaring that the smell of green chile being roasted would heretofore be the state’s official aroma. No joke.If you live in New Mexico, you understand. Because once chile season arrives, the wafting of chile roasting is almost everywhere. And now it has begun.At Albertson’s supermarkets, the roasting season began Saturday, which is earlier than usual due to the abnormally hot weather in July. This year the cost of a box (about a half-bushel) is $31.75, and the roasting is free unless you feel like leaving a tip.Don Cary, an assistant produce manager at the Albertson’s on Montgomery Boulevard NE, had never tasted roasted green chile until he moved from Phoenix to New Mexico six years ago, is now a skilled professional roaster who knows how it’s done right.As far as Cary’s concerned, you start with fresh Hatch chile, which is all they roast at Albertson’s.”Everybody in New Mexico knows that Hatch is the only way to go,” he said. “People in Colorado might tell you different, but they’re wrong.”Roasting it so the skin peels off is important.You definitely want to roast it for peeling, mainly,” Cary said “So we blacken it, then wet it down with water and you’ll see it start peeling throughout the cooking time\, and you’ll see me changing the fire on it. Once I get a good char I lower the fire. A few minutes later I lower it some more, and once you see the chile start sliding in the roaster, you know it’s about ready.”On a typical day in season, Cary said he’ll roast 15-30 boxes, more on the weekends, and expects to keep going at least through August, and as long after as they can still get it. He loves the smell of it. “Oh yeah, it makes you hungry all day long,” Cary said. “No, roasting chile, I love it. I wish the season was longer.”

It’s not every state that can boast it has an official state aroma. As a matter of fact, there’s only one state that can — New Mexico.

In the midst of a busy legislative session early this year, lawmakers some how found the time to pass a bill declaring that the smell of green chile being roasted would heretofore be the state’s official aroma. No joke.

If you live in New Mexico, you understand. Because once chile season arrives, the wafting of chile roasting is almost everywhere. And now it has begun.

At Albertson’s supermarkets, the roasting season began Saturday, which is earlier than usual due to the abnormally hot weather in July.

This year the cost of a box (about a half-bushel) is $31.75, and the roasting is free unless you feel like leaving a tip.

Don Cary, an assistant produce manager at the Albertson’s on Montgomery Boulevard NE, had never tasted roasted green chile until he moved from Phoenix to New Mexico six years ago, is now a skilled professional roaster who knows how it’s done right.

As far as Cary’s concerned, you start with fresh Hatch chile, which is all they roast at Albertson’s.

“Everybody in New Mexico knows that Hatch is the only way to go,” he said. “People in Colorado might tell you different, but they’re wrong.”

Roasting it so the skin peels off is important.

You definitely want to roast it for peeling, mainly,” Cary said “So we blacken it, then wet it down with water and you’ll see it start peeling throughout the cooking time\, and you’ll see me changing the fire on it. Once I get a good char I lower the fire. A few minutes later I lower it some more, and once you see the chile start sliding in the roaster, you know it’s about ready.”

On a typical day in season, Cary said he’ll roast 15-30 boxes, more on the weekends, and expects to keep going at least through August, and as long after as they can still get it.

He loves the smell of it.

“Oh yeah, it makes you hungry all day long,” Cary said. “No, roasting chile, I love it. I wish the season was longer.”

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