It’s Chile Roasting Season At Romero’s
By Robert A. Naranjo
Hernandez – You know it’s getting close to fall in New Mexico when the aroma of chile roasting wafts through the air throughout the Espanola Valley and northern New Mexico. Whether it’s a do it yourself chile roasting job or done at area stores, it’s the same aroma that reels you in to buy some when you happen to pass by.
The Valley Daily Post recently visited Romero’s Fruit Stand in Hernandez, also referred to as “Romero’s,” and is perennially a people’s favorite (social media unofficial polls) to get their sack of green chile roasted, then take it home, put it in freezer bags usually, and store in their freezer for the winter. Jake Romero, owner, along with Clarabelle Romero, Jacob Romero, family and staff make sure that customers are treated like family.
Green Chile From Hatch, NM ready for the roaster at Romero's Fruit Stand. Photo by Robert A.Naranjo/valleydailypost.com
George Hernandez, a customer said he’s been a customer for five years. Dena Lopez, also from Hernandez said that Romero’s has “nice people” who are “friendly.” Lopez added that “it’s very important” to have a store’s employees treat their customers well. And she gets her roasted green chile there.
“And everything in the store is affordable,” she said.
She said that her grandmother, Elena Gallegos, who used to live nearby, loved to go to Romero’s, because she was treated like the “old days,” and if she bought something on credit, she’d promptly go pay it back on the first day of the month. Of course, Gallegos bought her green chile at Romero’s, but liked the mild or medium hot.
Jane Trujillo, of Santa Cruz, now lives near Romero’s. She said that the “green chile is excellent and firm.” She added that “the staff is friendly.” She says that Romero’s washes the chile before roasting, something not all places do and the prices are reasonable.
Trujillo was asking a couple of Romero’s employees questions on the chile.
Shawndee Maestas said that working at Romero’s “is a fun job” and he’s been there for two years. Asked why he liked it, he said, “I like talking to the people. They come from all over the country.”
Jake Romero said that the store gets the Hatch chile first because it’s the first one delivered to the area stores, including Romero’s. But Romero’s also has a special business arrangement with a grower in the Socorro (Lemitar) area who sells his crop of chile exclusively to Romero’s Fruit Stand. It gives people “a choice” according to Romero.
Romero’s also will roast a sack of chile that is brought to the store for a reasonable price. Or, buy the sack of chile there for a competitive price and it is washed and roasted while you wait according to Eric Lucero, who usually staffs the cash register. “There are no call in orders,” according to Lucero, but he says Romero’s is a short drive from anywhere in the Valley. Romero’s phone number to check on the availability of hot, medium or mild chile is (505) 753-4189.
At Romero’s, roasting green chile is a tradition that you’re going to love.