The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

Las Cruces: Pecan capital of the world 

Leah De La Torre
Customers shop for pecan products from local businesses and vendors. April 13, 2024.

Could New Mexico become known for something more than green chile? The first annual Pecan Festival hopes to “put Las Cruces on the map” by promoting the local pecan industry. 

The festival was a three-day event held at Young Park from April 12-14. With playgrounds, live music, food trucks, and enough local vendors to rival the Las Cruces Farmers Market, the event was marketed as fun for the whole family. Organized by Kristen Worthington, there were four different pecan farms and growers present at the event, in addition to a host of other local business owners. 

“We’re the largest pecan producing county in the country,” said Sean Worthington of Worthington Farms. “I did the math one day and it’s about 17% of the pecans worldwide are grown in this valley. It’s a big deal. So, we wanted to bring kind of awareness to the population and kind of show off our products.”

Each product was pecan-related in some way, from chocolate covered pecans to oil, lip balm and jewelry; even some of the food was smoked with pecan wood. All of this was crafted in hopes of not only having a festival to draw people to Las Cruces, but to promote an important local export, as well.  

The Las Cruces Pecan Festival took place over the course of three days in Young Park. April 13, 2024. (Leah De La Torre)

“It’s a big deal for New Mexico and a lot of people don’t even realize what all the industry does,” festival organizer Camille Plante said. “It supports so much, so we want the community to be educated and learn beyond green chile, which we love, and that’s part of who we are as New Mexicans. We want to put pecans on the map, and we really want to take this festival to the next level and give our community something to celebrate every year.” 

In addition to promoting the pecan industry, the festival and local farms partnered with Plante’s nonprofit organization, the Wee Warriors. Founded in 2018, the Wee Warriors project supports New Mexican hospitals and families with medically fragile newborn babies. Profits from the Pecan Festival were donated to the project. 

“I think that it’s important to know that the Warriors project is serving a very underserved population,” Plante said. “There’s not a lot of resources here medically. We want the state to start paying attention. We only support New Mexicans and we want the Warriors project to really thrive along with this industry.” 

Tickets for the event cost $10 for general admission and $7 for senior citizens. Students and first responders received a discount, while children under the age of 10 got in for free. There were also $50 tickets available for guests to enter the VIP tent, which included a free drink ticket and the opportunity to judge a food tasting competition.

Local chefs prepare multiple servings for the “Top Chef” competition and tasting on the second day of the Las Cruces Pecan Festival. April 13, 2024. (Leah De La Torre)

The competition took place on Saturday, April 13, during which judges were given 15 different pecan-based foods from local chefs. Tasters then had to rank the dishes out of 10 in several different categories to pick three winners. The event drew around 40 people, including local citizen Susan Austin, who is already thinking of recipes to enter the challenge herself next year. 

“I think it’s nice for the city of Las Cruces to kind of embrace some of these kinds of festivals that embrace what Las Cruces is about,” Austin said. “That it’s not just chile. We have a great beer culture here. We got a great pecan culture here. We have a great culture here that I think the city of Las Cruces needs to celebrate.”

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About the Contributors
Adeline Triplett
Adeline Triplett, Staff Writer
Adeline Triplett is starting her second year with The Round Up. She is a senior at NMSU, majoring in Journalism & Media Studies with a focus in print/editorial and a minor in International Studies. Adeline was raised in Farmington, New Mexico. She has always had a love of writing and reading due to growing up with parents who are teachers. Adeline began writing creatively in elementary school and has continued ever since. She discovered her passion for journalism in high school and hopes to make a positive impact with her stories. Outside of school and writing, Adeline enjoys spending time with friends and family, binging movies and shows, and traveling as much as possible. Moving forward, she hopes that working at The Round Up will help her grow as a writer and in her future career.
Leah De La Torre
Leah De La Torre, Multimedia Specialist
Leah De La Torre is entering her second year at The Round Up as a multimedia specialist. She will be majoring in Journalism and Media Studies. She grew up in El Paso, Texas. De La Torre has been making videos with her family and friends since she was in elementary school, and her love for the camera continued through high school as she became a member of the video and broadcast team. There, not only did she learn more about photography and video making but gained an interest in journalism. Her other interests include playing the cello, sewing, and listening to her favorite music artists like Her’s and The Strokes. Working for The Round Up, she hopes to continue doing what she loves, being behind the camera and contributing to making and telling stories about her community.

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