Expert Presents History of Chile in Southwest

Dr. Stephanie Walker in a chile field in southern New Mexico. Courtesy/LAHS


Chile peppers have a long and rich history in New Mexico, and actually were grown in this area hundreds of years before New Mexico’s statehood.

Dr. Stephanie Walker, Extension Vegetable Specialist from New Mexico State University, will discuss the story of chile in the Southwest from its ancient origins to modern production.

The Los Alamos Historical Society will present “Chile – New Mexico’s Hottest Harvest” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9 at Fuller Lodge.

Walker earned her Bachelor of Science degree from New Mexico State University (NMSU) in biology, specializing in microbiology. Following completion of her B.S. she worked in quality control and research and development at the Old El Paso processing facility in Anthony, Texas for more than 10 years.

She was accepted into the Chile Pepper Breeding program at NMSU, and earned her master’s degree in horticulture in 1997, working on the genetics of resistance to phytophthora root rot and foliar blight of chile peppers. She earned her Ph.D. in agronomy in 2007, working on breeding red chile for mechanical harvest efficiency. 

Walker has served as extension vegetable specialist in the Extension Plant Sciences Department at NMSU since 2004 where she concentrates on providing assistance to commercial vegetable growers and related industries in enhancing sustainability and profitability of vegetable production in New Mexico.

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