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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Don’t you love kids!

Anna loves to take videos with Winston’s phone. He went through his phone this evening and found this video she made while she was in the tractor waiting for him. It’s a little
long but hilarious! Listen to the song ūüôā

Is it Really True??

Well….the answer is, YES it is!! We received a phone call last week from the Martha Stewart Show. Eeeek!! I must confess I am having a very hard time composing myself. As I spoke to one of the producers over the phone I found myself pacing the floor with anticipation and shaking. Yes, I know it is very shameful, but my hands were in fact shaking and I was trying hard to make sure my voice did not crack as to embarrass myself even more so. I found myself wondering what these producers must think of people like myself. Well, I have to report that she was very down-to-earth and did an amazing job of not making me feel like a fool ūüôā

I have been watching Martha‚Äôs TV show since I was in college. Over the years I have made many attempts to produce her beautifully, creative crafts, recipes and decorations. I always seem to come up short, though. On screen she displays such ease in producing the masterpieces set before us, but for some reason my reproduction doesn‚Äôt quite look the same. If there is one thing that has impacted me the most, though, about Martha Stewart it is her passion for what she does. I have noticed this passion is contagious and has been for many years. So it is especially gratifying and rewarding for me to be able to share with Martha and her studio audience something that I am passionate about… Pecans!

To say that it is an honor to be included on the Martha Stewart Show as well as sourced in her new cookbook ‚ÄúMartha‚Äôs American Food‚ÄĚ is an understatement. I am excited, honored, proud, giddy, nervous and incredibly blessed! Please join us as we watch with anticipation on the Hallmark Channel on Tuesday, April 24th at 10am and 2pm EST and Wednesday, April 25th at 1pm EST. Happy Baking!

Millican Pecan and Martha Stewart

Great News!!! The producers of The Martha Stewart Show called us¬†yesterday requesting 200 bags of pecans¬†that they are letting the studio audience sample. They also made us aware that they are sourcing our pecans in Martha Stewart’s new book which you can buy on Amazon. We are very excited about this¬†opportunity¬†and hope you tune to her show on Tuesday!

 

 

Shaking Trees!

What’s Shaking?

Pecan Harvest is always an exciting time around our pecan farm. Months of preparation have been spent irrigating and spraying the pecan orchard. So the next 3 months will be busy circling trees and chasing the nuts which God has provided.  Millican Pecan has the latest harvest equipment from Savage Pecan Equipment and other pecan equipment leaders in the industry.

How the Pecan Shaker Works

This begins with the shaking of the Texas pecan trees.  Trees generally have straight trunks in which the pecan shaker grabs hold of with 2 rubber pads.  Then, the Savage shaker uses tractor hydraulics to clamp the shaker arm to the tree and locks it into position. After this, the The power take off (PTO) engages from the tractor seat to unleash a man-made earthquake upon the tree and the ground surrounding the area.

Because the PTO is engaging two offset weight, this force showers the ground with the pecan nuts, limbs and pecan leaves. ¬†This all happens in a matter of seconds. ¬†The tractor and the operator is protected from this barrage of pecan orchard materials by a metal roof covering the machine. ¬†the operator will keep the tractor’s power take off engaged for approximately 30 -60 seconds. ¬†Early in the season, longer time is needed to removed the leaves and the pecans. ¬†Once the pecans have dried and the leaves have fallen, the pecans nuts fall out of the trees very easily.

The tractor operator then reverses the process and moves to the next tree in the row and starts again.  After the pecans have fallen, we have other machines that rake the sticks and limbs out of the way of the pecan harvesters.  This use to be done by hand and was my job growing up.  Thank goodness for technology and pecan equipment from me still having to do that job!

 

Pecan Equipment Repairs

I’ve talked in past blogs about working on pecan equipment, but have not given many details as to what we do. ¬†During the harvest season, we operate at ‚Äúfull steam ahead‚ÄĚ! ¬†While most repairs can be fixed on a daily basis early each morning, other repairs¬†typically take more time.

Pecan equipment shaking a pecan tree
Pecan equipment shaking a pecan tree

Early in the season, our Savage Pecan Shakers get either shaker pad lube or a shot of grease in the shaker pads to keep them lubricated. This helps minimize the damage caused by the shaker slipping off the tree. If you have shaken enough trees, it is going to happen sooner or later. We also grease the clamp arm. Our pecan harvesters get greased every morning and we make sure all the bearings, belts and chains are tight. I always find it amazing how many pecan equipment issues can be solved with just a few minutes every morning.

End of Season Repairs

At the end of the pecan season, after all the pecans are harvested, the pecan equipment gets a high pressure, hot water bath to remove all dirt and grease. Then it pulls through our shop. We have a well equipped shop to handle most repair tasks. On the pecan harvester, broken or missing ‚Äúfingers‚ÄĚ (pieces of rubber used to collect the pecans off the ground) are replaced. This is a process that takes some time, but worth every minute during the season.

The sprockets and idlers are checked on each piece of equipment for broken teeth and general wear. If one is bad, we usually replace the chain as well. PTO yokes and U joints are also tested to make sure they are tight. While inspecting all these areas, the welder Mig welds all hairline cracks in the machines. We also prime all bare metal to keep it from rusting. If no major parts have to be replaced a harvester is usually rebuilt in a few days. From there, the pecan harvesters and other pecan equipment are stored in the barn until the next harvest season. This is also the time of year when new equipment is purchased and any idle pecan equipment is sold.

Season Preparation

In the cleaning facility and the shelling plant, work is also done to make the flow of pecans more efficient. Conveyors and machines are added, rearranged, and modified to make the plants work at full capacity. Hopper and chutes have to be adjusted and rebuilt when machines are moved. This is always a time-consuming task to make sure the pieces fit together. Mainly due to the limited space in our shop. In the last count we took the raw processing plant had a total of 27 electric motors. These all carefully work together to process and clean the pecan crop each year.

A couple of  months of maintenance on our pecan equipment in the off-season pays big dividends during pecan harvest. These few months of maintenance means that we have less pressure during season time. And less pressure is a direct result of relief from constant breakdowns. In turn, we are able to get the crop harvested and sold which keeps everyone happy!

From an employees view.

I have been part of the delicious world of Millican Pecan for two wonderful years. There are so many things about baking pecan pies, flavoring pecans, and chocolate making that I have learned. While the learning curve was steep as with any new process, I quickly learn and prospered in the pecan industry. I enjoy being part of the great Millican Pecan Company that has been in business since 1888. Of all the wonderful products that we make, the handmade pecan pie is by far my favorite to make while working.

What Makes Us Tick

There are so many things I enjoy about working for Winston and Kristen, but my favorite thing is baking pecan pies. They have taught me how to make their famous pecan pies and I have baked so many especially during Thanksgiving and Christmas. During the busy season I like being in the kitchen all day baking pies. Some would call me the “pie¬†machine.” I have a little secret when I’m baking pies and it’s not¬†necessarily¬†a secret ingredient. I always like to keep the valued customer in mind that ordered the pie. I want them to be very pleased when they slice the pecan pie.

I love the smell of the pies while they are in the oven. My imagination takes me to a cold winter morning having a slice of pecan pie with chocolate pecan coffee. Yummy. If you have not had a chance to try our Pecan Pie. You should, because not only is it homemade but now you know they are handmade by me!  I take pride in my work as do all of the employees at Millican Pecan Company.  We have a sense of ownership that allows us to take pride in our work.

-Ines Aguirre

edited by Winston Millican

 

Pecan Sugar Cookies Recipe

Most kids love sugar cookies. To be real honest, most adults do too. I love to top mine with colorful icing to offer variety. But I found a recipe that doesn’t require icing to provide a unique .

Here is the link to buy our yummy Pecan Meal:

http://www.pecancompany.com/pecanmeal.htm

 

Entitlement

I’ve been thinking lately of the attitude of entitlement. It stems mainly from a tragic event that happened recently in our community. A fellow pecan grower and friend of mine had her life taken from her because of it.
I have to admit that it’s not always easy to be grateful. After all, with life comes circumstances that are good and bad. But I have observed in my life that when I am grateful for what God has given me, then entitlement has no room to creep in. Recognizing that anything good in my life is not because I was entitled to it, but because God graciously placed it there for me. These gifts are evident to me when I reflect on the family I grew up in, my childhood friends, and grandparents. I also think of my husband and the journey we are taking together. We have been fortunate to graduate college together, see what once was a dream develop into a business, and now pour our hearts into two children. I think if our approach to these experiences was such that we deserved them or were entitled to them then we would miss out on the joy that comes along with them.
In short, I hope that we all can learn the importance of gratefulness. For with it comes the ease of a smile and a life well-lived.

Kristen Millican

Pecan Phanatic!

We would like to present April’s Pecan Phanatic of the¬†Month.

If you are nuts about any of Millican Pecan’s Products take a picture of yourself with some of our product and you could win some really wonderful stuff!