portrait of Chris GunterChris Gunter, PhD
Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist
Department of Horticultural Science
North Carolina State University

Dr. Chris Gunter is the production specialist for the commercial vegetable industry in North Carolina, working with growers to maintain a high quality of life through the use of integrated, economical and environmentally sound production practices.  He received his Ph.D. and M.S. in Horticulture at the University of Wisoncsin-Madison, and his B.S. in Horticulture at Purdue University.

Since joining N.C. State in 2007, his main focus is with the Solanaceous (tomato, pepper) and Cruciferous (cabbage, broccoli) cropping systems. Specifically, this includes the optimization of growth practices of crops like tomato, pepper and eggplant; this is part of both his Extension program and his research program, which focuses on the mineral nutrition of tomato and pepper.

Another emphasis of Dr. Gunter’s research is maximizing the efficiency of high-cost fertilizer inputs used in tomato production. As fuel costs have risen, so have the costs of fertilizers.  The use of fertilizer on high-value crops was thought to be a low-cost way to ensure maximum yield; as costs have risen, growers are in need of more carefully managed nutrient practices for these high-value crops.  Working directly with growers and agents, Gunter helps solve production problems through informal field visits, formal field days and the production of Extension publications related to crop production.

Gunter is also involved in fresh produce safety and the impact of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) on these crops during field production and throughout the produce handling chain. He is a co-chair of the N.C. Fresh Produce Safety Task Force.  Based on the N.C. State University campus in Raleigh, N.C., Gunter is an advisor with the N.C. Greenhouse Vegetable Growers Association, the N.C. Vegetable Growers Association and the N.C. Tomato Growers Association.