Westlake Weekly Update 7.28.20
Featured Item: Hatch Chile Hype
Guess what time it is?! It is Hatch chile season for all you “hatch heads!” If you’re unfamiliar with what I am talking about, read on my friend because the hype is real. Hatch chiles are exclusively from the Mesilla Valley in Hatch, New Mexico. Just as a wine connoisseur will argue where the best grapes are grown, chile lovers will have as much passion for their peppers! The small town of less than two thousand, Hatch, New Mexico is the center for these peppers only available for two short months. Starting in August and through September, chefs, grandmothers, and home cooks line up for their batch of roasted Hatch chiles. Some will argue it’s the soil in the valley along the Rio Grande that gives the peppers the extra magic, while others will emphatically say it’s the weather. But, whether it’s the hot days and cool nights, or the rich soil of New Mexico, these peppers from New Mexico are no joke.
What makes these peppers so coveted is the flavor, not the heat. They are larger than a jalapeno, similar in size to the Anaheim, but don’t ever say that near someone from New Mexico! It’s blasphemy to even hint they are the same! The Hatch chile has a sweet, smokey, and grassy flavor that only gets enhanced, as it is roasted over an open fire. There is always an earthiness to it, that gives it a fresh picked flavor. They are truly a thing of beauty! Bright green or more mature red, they are added to everything from ice cream to beer in New Mexico. Even chains like McDonald’s will offer it up on burgers during the season.
The versatility of these peppers is like no other. They are so popular because they basically can be added to any dish you’re looking to “spice up!” In fact, try adding a little to your apple pie this fall. The smokiness of the green chiles can really bring out the sweetness of the apples. For those of you not as adventurous, try getting your feet wet with hatch chile stew or enchiladas. Just like most peppers, how much heat you want is up to you. Hatch chiles can range from mild to super hot, but all will have that little bit of funk that is unique to this chile.
The fact that you can only get these chiles during a short window in August and September only adds to the Hatch chile mania! Most in the know will get a minimum of 20 lbs each season. The reason being, they are perfect for freezing! Once roasted, let the peppers get to room temperature. Place a few in a freezer-safe bag and remove as much air as possible, or even better, vacuum seal before freezing.
Just think of all the ways you can use your fresh or frozen Hatch chiles! Don’t delay! Buy them now in bulk. You’ll be thankful you did after you try your first recipe of the season. They also make a great food gift, if you’re willing to part with some of your stash. Check out this helpful article on how to roast on your own, but many retailers will have roasting events. At Westlake, we can guarantee you won’t be sorry you bought them. You’ll only be sorry when they run out!
Westlake has a lot to offer on the citrus front. For instance, our bagged mandarins continue to be the big mover in the retail sector. We are seeing a lighter supply of fruit for bags as the Clementine variety from Peru and Chile wind down. The first baggable Murcotts from Peru started to arrive last week. The fruit that was received is of excellent quality. Expect to have demand exceed supply as we get started on this variety and the coming weeks. Mandarins from our growers from Chile will also start to arrive mid-August at the earliest.
As for bulk varieties, W.Murcott mandarins and Tango mandarins are moving very well. Supply is selling out as soon as the fruit is devanned from the port. The peak size on bulk mandarins has been the 60s and 50s, followed by the 70s. The fruit is looking and eating great. All packed in 10kg cartons with retail PLU. The mandarin supply will be promotable starting next week, it is a fantastic item to promote during August.
Minneola Tangelos are also in good supply and the fruit is very nice. The size is peaking on the 36s, followed by the 30s and 45s. These are all packed in 22 lb cartons. The fruit is tasting great and has excellent juice content. We have a promotable supply now available. We expect the supply to continue to be available through August.
Daisy tangerines from Australia remain available. We will have supply available for another two weeks. Demand has been excellent in this variety. The fruit appearance and color are always eye-catching. They look fantastic on displays. Call us for your continued supply.
California Navel oranges are finished packing for the season. Some supply of California fruit remains in the supply chain, but most receivers now are making the switch to the import supply. Chilean navels began to arrive in the last couple of weeks with very good quality. The sizes currently available are 56s, 48s, and 72s.
Australia navels are also available! The eating quality and appearance are outstanding. They are peaking on the 56s and 64s in the new 18kg pack, while the 16kg pack will peak on 48s, the 40s, and 56s.
As for the domestic California Valencia oranges, they continue to move very well during this time. The quality has been good overall with orders taking all fancy and choice grade oranges. They are peaking on sizes 72s, 56s, and 88s. We anticipate the smaller fruit will become limited in the coming weeks as the fruit will continue to grow and size up. Choice grade fruit continues to hold up well and looks good, even with all the summer heat.
California lemon production is now all of Southern California from Ventura and San Diego counties. The size continues to peak on the 95s and 115s. Chilean and Mexican lemons are also making their way into the US. Westlake is able to sustain good retail promotions and foodservice supply during the summer. Offshore lemons from Chile are keeping up with a good supply of 140s and larger, while Mexico is peaking on 140s and smaller. We have good availability of choice grade. Lemons will continue to be available for your summer lemonade and weekend stay at home cookouts!
Grapefruit sales continue to be strong. Star grapefruit has finished up this week. We now have a supply of the Marsh pink grapefruit ready for the remainder of the California season. The sizes are peaking on the 40s and 48s, followed by the 36s. There is a very limited supply of the 32s and larger. The California supply will go through early or mid-September before making the switch to Florida and Texas.
As the summer heats up, so do our peppers! We currently have the following peppers available:
- Red Fresno
Westlake has new pear crops available from our growers in California. We have a great range for your specific needs.
- Starkrimson pears
- Green Bartlett
- Golden Russet Bosc
- Forelle Pears
- Seckel Pears