For the first couple of decades of queso making I had to rely on a very expensive source of Hatch Green Chile making it difficult to share. In 2012 I learned that Wegmans was bringing in a truckload after harvest and planned to roast them outside the store. I put my order in for 300 pounds and bought a chest freezer.
I remember the first roast; I think I had more experience than the guys doing it. Over the years Elena (wife) and I got pretty good at getting them prepped for frozen storage. She would cut off the tops and I would give them a good rinsing to get as much of the loose skin and seeds out of the peppers as possible. They were then sealed in vacuum seal bags and frozen until used over the course of the year. 300 pounds yielded ~180 pounds of usable peppers. Every week I would thaw a couple of bags of peppers and then clean them one by one with my bare hands until only the meat of the pepper remained. I would allow a small number of seeds. At first, my hands would burn for days, but the joy from the aroma of the peppers outweighed the pain. I had to be very careful what I touched after a pepper cleaning. Pavlov’s theory applies here, trust me.
Until we went commercial in July of 2020 all our HGC was purchased through Wegmans and hand cleaned by me ~2,400 pounds. I think it is safe to say that Empty Bowl Queso would not be what it is today without Wegmans, and it gives me much joy that the first mass-retail sale was at the Wegmans here in Leesburg, VA.
Thank You Wegmans!