The bulk pecan industry has seen many change to over its short history that have added value to the end user. No longer are wagons and horses used to bring the crop to market or the entire pecan crop being thrashed with a cane pole and harvested by hand.
While other tree nut crops have been available since biblical times, pecans have only been propagated on a commercial scale in 1870 when the EE Risien planted the first commercial improved pecan orchard in San Saba, Texas. From his orchard and nursery catalog, many pecan growers sprouted and put forth new orchards from his seedstock. New Grafting and budding techniques and technology was added to further his growing practices. The art of creating new cultivars, which he developed, is still used today.
During the 1960’s this US pecan belt was greatly benefited by San Saba local pioneers, such as Sloan Ellis, who created the first pecan harvester. Other people added other important equipment such as cleaners and shakers. Names that often come to mind are Burham’s , also of San Saba, and Sides from Mills County, Texas.
In the 1930’s hand picked pecans were shipped in 125 pound burlap coffee sacks via wagon carts to be marketed. Mechanicalization of the pecan harvesting industry did not change the way pecans were packaged until the 1990’s when bulk pecans were shipped via supersack. The Superbags held 2000 pounds and were a great improvement over handling the 2 person sacks. On the shelling side, 50 pound wooden crates gave way to 30 pound boxes.
Millican Pecan in San Saba, Texas is still pioneering the pecan industry by way of bulk pecans. If you are in the market for wholesale pecans, inshell or shelled pecan halves, they can be reached at 866.484.6358 or on their website www.MillicanPecan.com