GRETNA, La. — I stopped by the newest location of Thibodaux-based Rouses Supermarkets last week and had the pleasure of spending some time with produce clerk Nicolle as we roasted some Hatch peppers.

My local grocer, San Antonio-based H.E. Butt Co., was a pioneer in Hatch pepper love, with people in Austin have been buying them by the case for a decade now, but pepper roasting is becoming quite popular across the country.

It’s cool to see how the whole setup and display attracts customer attention. Almost everyone coming in and out of the store had to stop and ask what was going on, more so when the roaster was fired up and running.

It only takes a few minutes to roast some peppers, but the whole spectacle is definitely worth it. Nicolle said Rouses rotates the roaster during the limited Hatch season, and she’d roasted more than 20 boxes of peppers over the weekend.

For many customers who went by, Hatch peppers were a novelty. Many asked how to eat them, how to prepare them and how they could be used. Nicolle had several recipe ideas, including one made up for them to try, and even suggested them in local fare such as red beans and rice.

If you haven’t jumped on in on the Hatch roasting fun, I highly recommend it.

Check out this 10-Minute Merchandiser for advice on setting up your own operation.