Most of the time you will read about pecan orchards and you can tell that the minds that formulated the words came from a man. Of course, I love to listen to my husband talk about life in the pecan orchards because his eyes light up and his voice reflects passion. But I wanted you to see what a pecan orchard looks like from the eyes of a woman.
Agriculture has always been a passion of mine. I have always loved being outdoors and knew from an early age that I wanted to be a pecan farmer. Driving a tractor hour after hour never sounded boring and never seemed to get old. I remember the first tractor job I had was shredding a 125 acre field on an open top tractor. It must have made good memories of the time spent in the field because I don’t remember the weeds, heat or the dust. Now that I am older, I still find myself in the cab of a newer model still dreaming of the next big crop. Whether in the field or in the orchards, farming is in my blood. Even after the 2011 drought, I still found myself planning on the next crop to plant and the next pecans to take care of.
Growing pecans is my favorite thing to grow beside kids. I guess this is due to the fact that I didn’t plant them and they will be here long after I am gone. The longevity of the trees gives me a great responsibility to take care of the them and to leave them in better condition than I found them. If they are neglected for a year, it might be reflected in my income for several years. Being a pecan farmer is very rewarding and to nurture and take care of. Irrigating, shredding and keeping the orchard raked up gives me pride in my work. I just think of it as yard work except on a much larger scale.
Another great thing about growing pecans is the fellowship we have during harvest. Family and employees that have become friends always gather around the campfire during harvest to eat a hot meal. The majority of the time, an elaborate spread, prepared by my uncle Deen, will be enjoyed in the orchards. Everyone knows that when you smell smoke a good meal is not far off. Anything cooked over a hot bed of coals (pecan hickory wood, of course) always taste better!
Above all, a life in agriculture is not for everyone. With the adverse weather that we have experienced the last few year, you have got to rely on something larger and grander than yourself. God is in control and without faith in him, this would be just an unfulfilling job, not a calling.
We live rather far from town. In fact, what my girlfriends consider “in the sticks”. We moved here as soon as we got married, which has almost been ten years ago. As a result, I have learned the art of substitution in my cooking endeavors. What I mean is that I have learned to use the ingredients that I have on hand.
Recently, I’ve been getting calls and emails about people wanting to buy an orchard or develop native/seedling trees into a marketable crop. Just when i think I’ve seen it all, somebody calls and they have a completely different problem or question. Planting and harvesting pecans is a passion of mine, so helping you is an extension of that passion. So for the prospective pecan grower these are my recommendations for criteria that you need to look for in regards to finding the best pecan site to develop into an orchard.
High quality pecans require water from either rainfall or irrigation. Most places rely on a combination of the two. In the western US, irrigation is a must due to the lack of rainfall. Eastern pecan growers, irrigation is supplemental due to the abundance of rainfall. Most growers fall somewhere in between. Mature pecan trees can requires much as 2000 gallons of water per week during the growing season.
Many pecan lovers have found that Millican Pecan Company is an excellent source for fresh pecans and pecan candy . We are also noticing that many pecan growers are finding our resources to be helpful as well. For the avid pecan user, our blog includes a vast assortment of pecan recipes as well as valuable information and facts about pecans. We have added topics that will help the novice pecan grower or a homeowner. Our articles to serve as a refresher for expert growers. Many of the pecan related topics that we write about are actual questions we receive from our followers via email and phone calls.