Chile

Juan Ferrel, a green chile vendor from southern Colorado, spins his roast station as freshly harvested chiles cook on Wednesday in Rawlins.

RAWLINS – After spinning inside a cylindrical, metal-wired cage crackling over open flames, the sensational scent of roasted green chile subsequently permeated the open air on Wednesday in Rawlins.

With the annual harvest season well underway, the city usually sees this time of year various vendors selling freshly cultivated green chile along the streets.

One vendor, Juan Ferrel, has been traveling to Rawlins from his home in southern Colorado every season for the past 10 years. He set up his roast station in the parking lot of Family Dollar.

Using green chile freshly cultivated from farms near Pueblo, Colo., Ferrel said he loads his truck up with as much as it can hold and makes stops in places like Laramie, Saratoga and, of course, Rawlins.

At $45 a sack and $25 a bushel, Ferrel said he typically sells about 15 to 20 orders on each stop, which pockets him roughly between $375 to $900 per sitting.

“It’s a lot,” he told the Rawlins Times as he spun the roast station as if it were a raffle.

Being many Wyoming communities treat green chile like it’s some sort of sacred ketchup, the vendors aren’t the only ones roasting away.

Rawlins locals are known to take time to personally drive down to farms in Colorado and New Mexico, where there spend days hand-picking fresh chile. Not only do they do that, they use it as an opportunity to visit family and spend quality time with people they don’t usually see on a regular basis.

When they come back to the Cowboy State, they’ll roast the chile on their backyard barbeques and later make some of the best, homemade Latin food west of the Mississippi.

It’s commonplace to smell the delectable scent of roasted chile coming from any given neighborbood in Rawlins this time of year.

But for Ferrel the vendor, who’s back and forth between locations, make sure to watch out for him – and other vendors like him – throughout this coming week, or else you might miss out on a batch.

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