Kris Young tells a customer that his order of onions are finished still as the remaining heat escapes the roaster.
The feeling in the booth for Red’s Roasters is one of warmth, friendliness and a true sense of community. Young greets his customers like old friends as he happily shares products and process information. Half of Red’s weekly business is repeat customers, demonstrating he and his goods are beloved farmers markets mainstays.
Young began roasting at sixteen years old when the grocery store he worked at recruited him to roast Hatch green chiles. Soon, he was assisting his mentor and friend, Bob Cocuzza at the farmers market on Sundays.
“I loved being out at the market,” said Young. “Everyone had a great attitude and wanted to be there.”
After eight years, Young bought the business and officially changed the name to Red’s Roasters in early 2015.
Named after his own fiery red hair, Young was excited to take on his new adventure. Shortly after taking over, Cocuzza unfortunately passed away. Young was determined to keep the business going strong, however and added more products while also increasing his weekly inventory.
The majority of vegetables Red’s roasts originate from other market vendors and area farms to ensure he’s roasting fresh. Green chilies, poblano, jalapeño and bell peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplant, zucchini and garlic are regularly available. Recently, Young added onions after numerous customer requests.
“I like to take customers’ ideas and incorporate them into what I am doing,” says Young.
Produce is roasted right at his stand and customers are welcome to watch what can be a mesmerizing process.
Young’s most popular products are roasted poblanos, green chiles, and the Salsa Pack, which contains green chile, tomato, and tomatillo. But get there quick. Past 10:30 a.m., chances are he has already sold out of poblanos for the day. Busy season is August and September when Hatch green chiles become available.
Red’s Roasters can be found on Mondays at Maynards Twilight Market and all three Heirloom Market locations Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Between his energy for the business, passion for Tucson and love for talking with people, it’s clear Young truly enjoys what he does.
“It took confidence to make this business happen and I went full force with it,” said Young. “I didn’t expect to be doing this, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
Keep up with Red’s Roasters on Facebook.