ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexicans love their green chile. Now, people from California are getting a taste and helping University of New Mexico students at the same time.
Gary Bednorz, a UNM graduate, moved to Ventura, California in 1981. He’s an academic recruiter. He was also the university’s first chapter leader and the person who started the Green Chile Roast.
Every year Bednorz drives into Los Angeles and loads up his trailer with 35 sacks of Hatch green chile. He drives back to Ventura and the roast begins.
“We fire up the roaster and roast the gunny sacks,” Bednorz said. “In addition to that we have a New Mexican lunch with green chicken tamales, posole, rice, beans and salsa. We basically have New Mexico for a day in SoCal.”
Bednorz said when the event first started he was only buying a few sacks of green chile.
“Now people are driving from 150 miles away just to get their hands on some,” he said.
The day includes volunteers helping roast and bag sacks of green chile for others to buy. Bednorz said the best part of the event is that all the money raised goes back to a scholarship fund for students at UNM.
“If they buy the entire gunny sack, it’s $70,” Bednorz said. “I know people back in Albuquerque would say, ‘What?’ but the people out here know it’s going to students.”
UNM said since the first event, the roast has raised more than $40,000 for the scholarship fund. According to the university, all seven out-of-state chapters have started a Green Chile Roast.
This year’s roast in Ventura is August 28 at Arroyo Verde Park.