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September 4, 2008 at 3:02 PM

Baby, it’s chiles outside

Earlier today I introduced you to Chili’s Deli & Mart. Now say hello to chiles roasted outdoors — and to farmer Pedro Esquivel, seen here handcranking the goods at the Kirkland Wednesday Market:

Pedro owns 40 acres in Yakima, 10 of which are farmed with the help of his wife and three sons. Half their crop consists of tomatoes and peppers — including these sweet banana-chiles, seen after they’ve roasted for about 15 minutes, scenting the air with a perfume that had me longing for some melted queso and a Corona:

The propane-fueled apparatus comes from America’s chile capitol, New Mexico — home of New Mexico State University’s Chile Pepper Institute. And though the Esquivel family sells produce at farmers markets throughout Greater Seattle, so far they’ve only schlepped the roaster to the Crossroads Farmers Market and to Kirkland.

“The first day I only sold one pound,” said Pedro, whose roasted-pepper sales are slowly taking off. Plopping down $10, I swiftly took off with two pounds. When I got them home, I removed what was left of the charred skins, tossed the mild peppers into a Ziploc bag, then asked myself: “Now, what are you going to do with them?” Anybody have any ideas?

Comments | More in Cooking | Topics: Produce/Farmers Markets

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