Today we arrived at the Albertsons in Montebello at 5:15 in the morning. There were 13 people already in line waiting for the store to open at 6 am. There was a mix of folks that were there to buy and have their chiles roasted, and there were others who brought filled sacks just for the roasting.
Celia, the store manager, who is an old family friend, decided to pass out numbers, that way if you had to go into the store to buy your chile, you wouldn’t lose your place in line. The roasters were scheduled to start at 8 am, but they got approval from the fire dept. and started at 7 am. Gloria bought (3) 1 1/8 bushel sacks, as I waited outside in line with our assigned number. I must say that even though there was a lot of excitement, everyone respected the fact that I was in a wheelchair, and they offered any type of help that I might need.
They had 7 roasters lined up capable of roasting 50 lbs. each, and every one had 6 burners, and they were motorized. Last year they were using the hand crank versions. In less than 5 minutes a sack of chiles was roasted, put into a plastic lined milk crate, then the plastic bag was put back into your sack.
Now it was 7:15 am, and we were leaving the parking lot. As I looked at the line outside of the store, I counted at least 300 people in line. All in all, it went by much smoother than the year before. The store manager walked up and down the line, taking addresses from folks for a future mailing list. I mentioned to her that I had posted her store on Chowhound Los Angeles area, and on the SMF, and the guy behind me said, “That’s were I read about today’s sale”. Sorry for not having taken any pics, but the pics from this original thread tells the story.
We’ve got about 90 lbs. of NM chile for another year of great tasting foods. What more can I say other than "Bring the Holidays On". It’s all good my friend.