At Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp., our fresh sourcing, menu innovation, and culinary teams come up with exciting and flavorful dishes each month for guests to fall in love with. Attending events like the National Restaurant Association’s “NRA Show” help inspire, discover, connect, and gain the tools to innovate. After a meeting at the “NRA Show” in Chicago this past May, Hatch Green Chile became one of the favorite ingredients. Young Guns Produce of Hatch, NM, is our farmer partner for the Hatch Green Chile and the culinary team were hard at work creating recipes.
The culinary team brought the heat and created a house-made Hatch Green Chile Ranch Dressing and Fire Roasted Hatch Green Chile and Corn Chowder with Bacon Soup for September’s menu.
“Hatch Green Chile has literally become a hot item and growing in popularity,” says Kari Shepan, regional sales and marketing manager for Young Guns Produce. Only during the past two years has Young Guns Produce and other suppliers of Hatch Green Chile been venturing to national food shows.
Previously, they focused on Southwestern U.S. shows. “Hatch Green Chile is catching on around the country as food service clients are looking at flavors that can be integrated into new menu items,” Kari says. The Young Guns Produce story is reflective of a number of Hatch Green Chile suppliers from the New Mexico Hatch Valley, located about 40 miles north of Las Cruces, and anchored by the town of Hatch, which community leaders call “The Chile Capitol of the World.”
Young Guns Produce opened for business in February 1992, but its roots go back to more than eight decades before then when Joseph and Celestina Franzoy, who immigrated to the Hatch Valley from Tyrol, Austria, began farming in the valley. The Franzoys and other farmers who began growing green chilies claimed the unique sandy-loam soil, coupled with the nearby Rio Grande River water, along with the local climate, makes ideal conditions for growing the Hatch Green Chile that can’t be replicated elsewhere. Through the decades, the Franzoy family grew, expanding their farms throughout the valley. In 1992, descendants Chris and Tammy Franzoy opened Young Guns Produce as principal owners. Chris and Tammy source their Hatch Green Chile from family member farms that are now third, fourth, and fifth generations into chile farming.
Harvest season begins near the end of July and runs through October or the first freeze. All harvesting is done by hand with crews normally in the field by sunrise, picking what is needed that day or until it becomes too hot for the workers. What is harvested that day is washed and prepared for the fresh market or processed for the frozen food line.
“Young Guns Produce began its focus on marketing produce grown in Hatch with the idea of supporting the community and delivering great products,” Kari says. “The company has evolved into one of the largest suppliers in the Hatch Valley of onions, fresh Hatch Green Chile, frozen Hatch Green Chile, pumpkins, and New Mexico pinto beans.”
For more information about Young Guns Produce visit https://younggunsproduce.com/our-story/