New Mexico pecans grow in popularity

Thursday, September 6, 2012 - 11:38pm

New Mexico pecans are gaining national and international exposure for their great taste and quality.

Last year Southern New Mexico produced between 15 and 20 percent of the entire supply of pecans in the country, according to New Mexico Pecan Growers Association President Phillip Arnold.

"The Mesilla Valley by itself produced somewhere between 40 and 50 million pounds," Arnold said.

San Saba Pecan in Las Cruces caters to all pecan lovers with different varieties of the nut.

Their peak season is during the holidays but throughout the year they have a steady stream of customers getting their hands on some of their favorites.

"The amaretto chocolates, of course our natural pecan and the white chocolate and dark chocolate," said San Saba Pecan Officer Manager Blanca Sanchez, of the most sold products.

The store buys mostly local from area orchards or from regional suppliers.

"San Saba targets the Las Cruces area as well as a lot of other shellers because the quality of the pecans that comes out of this area is a very high quality nut," Arnold said.

Arnold said the pecan industry in New Mexico has really grown during the last 20 years.

Recently, New Mexico pecans have made their way overseas as far as China.

Arnold hopes to get pecans to even more parts of the world.

"We started an initiative several years ago doing export marketing cause we saw what China did for us," Arnold said. "Last year I was in Europe marketing pecans."

For local residents in Las Cruces, pecans have become a deliciously addicting treat.

"Once you start eating you can't stop," said Barbara Jaramillo. "It's really delicious"

Jaramillo and her husband Robert said buying pecan is a must before family comes to visit.

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