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We’re nearing that time of year again in Houston…Central Market’s Hatch Chile Festival.  Actually, ya’ll are…my ass is in Boston, but I can live vicariously through you Hatch lovers.

This marks the 16th year that CM plays host to this wonderful event (starts August 18). So…what’s new this year?  Check it out:

  • The family that Hatches together stays together! Hatch Roti Meal Deal only $14.99 – Hatch Rotisserie Chicken, Hatch Chile Mac and Cheese, and a Family Garden Salad.
  • Look for four brand new Hatch quesadillas- Hatch Chicken Eggplant, Bison Hatch Pepper Quesadilla, Shrimp with Hatch Cilantro Pesto, and Cowboy Quesadilla with Flank Steak and Hatch peppers.
  • The 5th Annual No-Holds-Barred Hatch Chile Recipe Contest kicking off online August 3. We’re whetting those appetites for the little green pepper that can.
  • Don’t cook? Eat and JUDGE! Enter online to be a Hatch recipe contest judge this year.
  • First Ever Central Market IPhone App! The Hatch iPhone app is loaded with fun recipes and a new video on ways to use Hatch (Think Hatch Bloody Mary; Roasted Hatch and Fiery Serrano Salsa; and Hatch Fettuccini w Creamy Pesto Heat!)
  • Hatch happenings in the Central Market Cooking School, from classes like Healthy Hatch: Featuring Chef Johnny Carino of PBS Break Me Off a Piece of That and the Hatch Chile Cookout.
  • In-store cooking demonstrations and Hatch-inspired food samplings.

Did the App catch your eye?  The new feature looks pretty darn cool.  And if you are a Hatch-aholic (just coined that), it should.  Details from the press release:

“Hatch Heads” everywhere can now find immediate Hatch chile pepper inspiration straight from their smartphone. Not sure how to roast a pepper? Does a Hatch Bloody Mary need cilantro? Did I pick the right pepper? Answers to these and all other burning Hatch questions now can be answered with the Central Market Hatch Chile Fest Pocket Cookbook app for iPhone.

“Even after 16 years, our shoppers still crave more information on Hatch roasting and recipes,” says Central Market Chief Merchant David Lusk. “Everyone’s seen the black roasters, they’ve tried the Hatch gelato and last year they clamored for Hatch air fresheners. The next frontier had to be digital. We’re proud to be the first to lead the famous Hatch pepper into the twenty-first century.”

The new app features a searchable Hatch recipe database and two fun videos on ways to use Hatch peppers – think roasted Hatch and Fiery Serrano Salsa or Hatch Fettuccini with Creamy Pesto Heat!

Throughout Central Market stores, shoppers will find signage with QR codes directing them straight to the iTunes store for immediate downloads. The app is designed for easy use while grocery shopping.

The festival is a salute to the seasonal return of the world-famous peppers that are harvested for only a few weeks out of the year, aren’t grown anywhere else in the world, and connoisseurs consider them some of the finest.

The Fifth Annual No Holds Barred recipe contest kicks off online August 3. Visit Centralmarket.com for details and rules.

*Note: Images and press release content provided by representatives of Central Market