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NMSU's Chile Pepper Institute scares up support from Mrs. Renfro's Ghost Pepper salsa

It's the newest, hottest and fastest growing product in Mrs. Renfro's 71-year history. It's Ghost Pepper salsa and a portion of sales from each jar will help fund a permanent endowment for chile pepper research at New Mexico State University's Chile Pepper Institute.

A photo of Mrs. Renfro's Ghost Pepper salsa.
It's the newest and hottest product in Mrs. Renfro's 71-year history. It's Ghost Pepper salsa and a portion of sales from each jar will help fund chile pepper research at NMSU's Chile Pepper Institute. (Photo courtesy Renfro Foods.)

"We are grateful to the Chile Pepper Institute for furthering worldwide interest, knowledge and availability of chile peppers," said Doug Renfro, president of Renfro Foods, based in Fort Worth. "We've seen a global trend towards hotter palates and the institute at NMSU has been a key part of this movement. Dr. Paul Bosland, in particular, has been a huge champion of new and exciting varieties."

Bosland is director of the Chile Pepper Institute. In 2006 he discovered that the Bhut Jolokia, also known as the "Ghost Pepper," was the first chile pepper in the world to exceed one million Scoville Heat Units - making it about 100 times hotter than an average jalapeno. Mrs. Renfo's Ghost Pepper salsa contains Bhut Jolokia peppers, as well as a warning on its label that reads "CAUTION: SCARY HOT."

"By helping to establish a chile pepper research endowment, Renfro Foods is building a legacy that will ensure chile pepper research continues in the United States forever," said Mark Gladden, director of development for NMSU's College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

"With the vitality and leadership an endowed chair brings, the entire industry will reap the rewards of new pepper cultivar development, improved flavor and nutrition characteristics, and heightened public interest and awareness of chile peppers," Bosland said.

To commemorate their participation, Mrs. Renfro's Ghost Pepper salsa has created a new lid that features ghost peppers emblazoned in fire, along with information about the Chile Pepper Institute on the Ghost Pepper salsa label.

The institute's goal is to raise $1 million over a five-year period. The campaign is currently in its second year.

Renfro Foods began as a packaged spices and pepper sauce business. It later expanded to include syrup, jelly, preserves and salsa. Renfro Foods currently manufactures a variety of salsas, sauces and relishes, including 30 Mrs. Renfro's products distributed through leading supermarkets, gourmet food stores and gift shops in all 50 states, Canada, the Caribbean and the U.K.