Pecans are one of the most popular nuts worldwide. Not only do they have great taste, but plenty of health benefits as well. As easily as we get pecans from stores or local producers, harvesting pecans is not easy. There are hundreds of commercial pecan producers and family farms all across the US, harvesting 200 million pounds of pecans every year to supply to local and international markets. Let us find out more about the pecan growing orchards and farm and the time of the harvest.
When are the Pecans Harvested?
Most pecan farms and orchards are run by the fourth or fifth generations in the United States. The pecan orchards for commercial growth mainly started in two places. Some farmers benefited from naturally occurring pecan groves. They worked on to provide better conditions so that the tress bore better fruit. They also planted new pecan trees.
Meanwhile, some pecan orchards come from real estate ventures of the early 20th century. Owners sold the areas with the pecan trees planted on the land as small homes or small farms with pecan trees. Many families who bought such homes or the farm, began harvesting and selling the pecans.
Pecan farmers grow pecans in the late spring during April and May. Nuts would begin to form because of wind pollination. By the summer, trees would bear young pecans. These would mature in late September or early October. After the six-month growing season, the pecan harvest season follows. Farmers harvest pecans in the late summer and winter season from October to December.
How Long Does It Take A Pecan Tree To Bear Nuts?
Pecan trees require a lot of time and effort to bear nut fruit. A pecan tree typically takes seven to ten years before it can bear fruit. But once the process begins, it can provide a full supply of pecans for many years, even hundreds in some cases.
What Do The Farmers Do In The Harvest Season?
Throughout the harvest season, nuts fall from the trees when they are fully mature. However, pecan growers cannot wait the entire season for nuts to fall. They use machines or mechanical shakers that gently shake the tree without weakening its roots, causing all the nuts to fall down.
The farmers then leave the nuts on the ground for the next machine to pick them up off the ground. After that, the nuts are collected by the harvesting machines, called "pickers". The growers or workers then clean the pecans, removing all the dirt, debris, and leaves away from the nuts.
In-shell nuts go through packaging directly. The remaining undergo screening, shelling, final cleaning, and processing. The nuts are screened for any bad ones, which are then removed. Farms sell smaller nuts to bakeries or use them to make desserts like pecan pie or pralines.
The pecan harvest season is between October and December. They grow between the months of April and September. It takes anywhere from seven to ten years for a pecan tree to mature fully and bear fruit. It takes a lot of time and effort for pecan growers to harvest pecans.
Hi! My name is Kristen Millican and I am so glad you have stopped by! Our family has been harvesting and selling pecans since 1888. I love sharing various pecan recipes, stories about life on our pecan farm, and so much more!