As Mr. Misadventures and I ramble along through the Southwest, the hubby is thoroughly (obsessively) involved in capturing it in images and I am thoroughly (obsessively) trying to its discover great local food stories via its people and its products.
It became immediately clear when we entered New Mexico that chiles are a big thing. Huge. With the state question being ‘red or green’ there is a deep passion when it comes to these little guys.
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I had previously been exposed to Hatch chiles for a campaign with Mollie Stones grocery store back in the Bay Area, so when we were staying in Las Cruces, it was an absolute must that we needed to visit the town of Hatch. And visit we did. Stopping to discuss with two farmers and buy some of our own to take on the road. My formal interview with one of the farmers fell through so I was a little disappointed.
But then I “met” the folks behind Hatchup. I cannot remember if they liked one of my photos on Instagram or if I found them through a New Mexico hashtag, either way, I thought their product sounded way cool. Being a lover of sriracha and sriracha ketchup, I knew that Hatchup was right up my alley. Then I sampled some while in Las Cruces and I was hooked!
Knowing we were heading to Santa Fe from Las Cruces, I reached out to Carmit and Jacob, the founders of this addictive condiment, who graciously agreed to share a little more about Hatchup.
Let’s meet Carmit and Jacob and Hatchup!
Tell me a little about the inspiration for Hatchup.
The inspiration to create Hatchup Katchup was born out of New Mexico’s roasting season. Our first house in Santa Fe was downwind from a parking lot where chile was roasted every day of late summer. We fell in love with the little chile peppers dancing around in the roasters, the aromas lingering in the air, and their smoky and delicious taste.
We wanted to create something with the chiles, something that would be wholly American but have New Mexico flavor and style as well! We were also looking to create a product with a modern label and design that would add to the very artistic landscape that is Santa Fe.
Why are Hatch chiles better than others when it comes to creating the katchup?
Chiles grown in Hatch have both a delicate yet bold flavor to them. The climate and geography of the Hatch Valley along with hot dry days and cool nights allow the soil to yield such a unique flavor of pepper.
New Mexico Hatch Chile season is a cultural phenomenon. The air is filled with the sweet smoke during the roasting season, families come together to gather around picnic tables to peel the roasted skins and prepare them for freezing so they may have them year-round. One could say simply, “it’s a thing!”
The green chiles grown in Hatch are typically not overpoweringly hot or spicy. The heat of some other varieties of pepper would begin taking away from the flavors of Hatchup Katchup. Some people are only looking for a condiment that is hot and goes for a hot sauce to boost their meal, our product appeals to those who want heat without compromising flavor.
Do you use fresh or roasted chiles for production? Are you tied to the Hatch harvest?
The chiles are harvested for us during the late summer harvest season, roasted and peeled, and then frozen so that they are available for use throughout our production cycles. We are tied into the harvest season in that, if Hatch has a poor green chile harvest, there will be a very limited amount of Hatchup available to the market. This is what makes our product a limited batch and an artisanal premium product.
How do you select what farms your chiles come from?
When searching for the farm to source our peppers, we had very specific requirements. Our peppers come from a family-owned farm in Hatch that met every bit of what we were looking for. The chiles also had the requirement to be exclusively grown in Hatch, New Mexico as there are many large farms calling their green chiles “Hatch Chile peppers” when in fact some of the farms are growing in other areas of New Mexico or even Mexico. The farm was also to comply with only using Non-GMO seeds and good agricultural practices. Of course, the taste and overall quality of the chile must be superb as well!
What was the creative process for creating Hatchup Katchup?
Lots of experimenting with different ingredients and tasting. Testing batch after batch. There were many many batches, We tried salts from around the world, tomatoes in every form from whole to puréed, and we strive to use the freshest ingredients we can get our hands-on. We also use organic ingredients when possible.
What’s your favorite way to eat a Hatchup Katchup?
Grilled cheese, eggs, and hash browns, fries, hotdogs, Mac n cheese, meatloaf, marinating a brisket, using it as a bbq sauce with just a couple additions, using it as a finishing sauce or in a red wine reduction, adding horseradish and making a cocktail sauce.
You name it and Hatchup will probably pair well with it!
You are East Coast transplants, but you have been here a while, so what’s your absolute favorite thing to do in Santa Fe?
We really enjoy evening walks among the stars and smelling piñon crackling from our neighbor’s chimneys, it is magical.
What is your favorite spot in Santa Fe for:
Breakfast – clafoutis serves a nice breakfast
Dinner – casual dinner at Rio Chama steakhouse
Coffee – Iconik or Ohori’s
Drinks – evening drink at the Four Seasons can’t be beat. The view is amazing.
Thanks Carmit & Jacob!
We’re carrying a jar of Hatchup around in our RV fridge, as Carmit said, it is perfect for everything! You can also buy a pack of 3 bottles on Amazon.
How about you? Have you tried Hatchup? Sound like something you want to try? What would you put Hatchup on?