Preparing for Pecan Harvest

In just a short few weeks pecan harvest will begin at Little Eva Plantation.  There are many tasks to be completed prior to the familiar site of our orange Savage pecan harvesters circling around and under the pecan trees.

Picking pecans with pecan harvester.

Picking pecans with pecan harvester.

Our workers are continually picking up limbs throughout the growing season and taking them to what we call “master piles”.  At the beginning of each growing season,  we try and locate an empty area to start a limb pile as we know that this pile will continue to enlarge as limbs that have fell from wind damage, lightning, or pruning practices are added to it throughout the spring and summer months.

"Master" pile of pecan limbs

“Master” pile of pecan limbs

These piles will be burned after the harvesting is done and after the trees have shed all their leaves from fall frosts.  If the piles were burned before the trees have lost their leaves, it would be a high probability that the heat from the burning limb piles could damage the leaves of the surrounding trees.  It is important to maintain healthy foliage well into fall as the trees are storing energy for the next years pecan crop.

After the large limbs are moved, a limb rake is pulled up each row of trees to gather up small limbs and debris.  Guess this is like “sweeping” the floor – the orchard floor.  This completed brings on the mowing with the bush hog.  Once bush hogging is finished the orchard floor looks perfectly clean, neat, and tidy.

Now it’s time for the pecan harvesting equipment to be inspected and serviced so as to try and prevent unnecessary breakdowns as it is very critical that harvest be completed as quickly as possible.  The tractors, pecan harvesters, and the pecan shaker are gone over with a fine tooth comb.  Tires are checked on the pecan wagons and any dry rotted or flat tires are replaced or repaired.

Pecan Shaker maintenance

Pecan Shaker maintenance

Pecan wagon loaded

Pecan wagon loaded

 

On to the warehouse to check out all the dump pits, elevators, dirt machine, stick machine, various electric motors, air compressors, the Savage In-Shell sorter, pecan cracker, and pecan sheller.  As one can see it is much preparation that goes into getting prepared for each year’s pecan harvest.

 

Natchitoches Pecans Releases Annual Product Brochure For The Holidays

The gourmet pecan company’s product brochure features their signature gourmet pecans, gift packages, and other pecan products just in time for the holidays.

Cloutierville, LA (PRWEB) November 05, 2014

Fresh Louisiana pecans are a welcome addition to any holiday table, whether for snacking or in homemade dishes. Natchitoches Pecans ships their fresh pecans around the country, and the company has just released their annual product brochure filled with a range of pecan goods and gift items available by mail order and online.

The Natchitoches Pecans catalogue includes a range of fresh Louisiana pecans – in-shell, cracked, halves, and pieces. The popular Burlap Bag of Nuts may be ordered as either in-shell or cracked. Pecan candies, samplers, cookbooks, and more are also available to order. Pecan candies and samplers are popular for gifting or for parties during the holiday season. The popular Cane River Pecan Sampler includes candied and spiced pecans – Natural Pecan Halves, Chocolate Pecans, Old Fashion Cane Pecans, and Cinnamon Spice Pecans – all in a custom tin. New this year is the Ms. Rita’s Baker’s Special – a great gift for cooks and bakers. This package includes fancy pecan halves, pecan pieces, and the family’s “Pecan Favorites Cookbook.”

As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, the Natchitoches Pecans “Nuthouse” – as the team fondly calls itself – starts to get busy packing and shipping pecan orders. To guarantee timely delivery of fresh Louisiana pecans, especially for holiday gifting, the company suggests ordering early. Order by December 12 to guarantee delivery before Christmas. Orders received after December 12 will be processed and shipped in the order they are received.

Call 1-800-572-5925 to request a brochure or order Natchitoches Pecans’ fresh pecans and all other pecan items online at http://www.natchitochespecans.com. Pecan enthusiasts can also visit their unique gift shop located in Cloutierville, LA.

Natchitoches Pecans
Established in 1987, Natchitoches Pecans, Inc. is a family owned and operated pecan orchard. Mark Swanson sees to the everyday operations, his wife, Julie, takes care of Little Eva’s Pecan Store and the mail-order business, and their mothers, brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews all help wherever needed. Natchitoches Pecans is proud to provide high-quality, gourmet Louisiana pecans for all of its customers.

 

From Natchitoches Pecans’ November press release.

Pecan Crop Prediction is 256 Million Pounds

The 2014 Tri-State Pecan Growers Conference was held in Alexandria, Louisiana from June 19-20.  Growers attending were from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas.  At the conclusion of the meeting the much anticipated pecan crop guesstimate was given by Ben Littlepage of Colfax, Louisiana.  The 2014 U.S. Pecan Crop estimate by Mr. Littlepage was 256 million pounds.

Following is the state-by-state prediction for the 2014 pecan crop:

Alabama ……………………………9.0 million lbs.

Arizona ……………………………18.0 million lbs.

Arkansas ……………………………3.0 million lbs.

California ……………………………4.0 million lbs.

Florida ……………………………….1.0 million lbs.

Georgia …………………………….65.0 million lbs.

Kansas ……………………………….2.0 million lbs.

Louisiana ………………………….16.0 million lbs.

Mississippi ………………………….1.0 million lbs.

Missouri ……………………………..1.0 million lbs.

New Mexico ……………………….55.0 million lbs.

North Carolina ……………………..0.5 million lbs.

Oklahoma …………………………..15.0 million lbs.

South Carolina ……………………..0.5 million lbs.

Texas ………………………………..65.0 million lbs.

U.S. Total ………………………….256 million lbs.

Participants toured two local pecan orchards over the course of the two days. The Inglewood Orchard and Harvest Barn became a certified organic operation last year, after the required 3-year period of not using synthetic management methods.  This orchard is around 80 acres.  Trey Decker with Inglewood Farm presented the group with information about this farm’s operation.   The second orchard toured was Rosalie Plantation.  This farm is centered around a picturesque antebellum sugarmill and includes approximately 100 acres of improved pecan trees .

Other speakers included Charlie Graham from the LSU Pecan Research Station, Bill Goff retired from Auburn University Horticulture and George Ray McEachern from Texas A&M University.  Information about pecan orchard management, specifically about orchard spacing, thinning and hedging was discussed.  Pest and disease control as well as updates on the future of pecan research in Louisiana were talked about also.

Louisiana pecan growers in particular say that this year’s crop in each pecan orchard looks to be good compared to the last couple of years as it has not been as dry.  However – all wise pecan growers know – Do not count your nuts before they are in the bag!

Pecans in the Bag

Pecans in the Bag

Start of 2014 Pecan Crop

Time flies as they say and if you are a pecan grower time travels at warp speed!  Our 2013 pecan harvest was very good.  The weather was decent which enabled us to get our pecan crop into the warehouse in a timely manner.  Our walk-in pecan store retail business was very brisk and our mail order business showed a substantial increase in sales.  The first two months of 2014 were very busy as this is the time when I dig out from under my stacks of paperwork, compile figures for the accountant, reflect on the recent business year, and access what our plan for the current year will consist of.

Who would have thought that Little Eva Plantation would see snow on four different occasions within the last six weeks.  It will only be a few short weeks before pecan bud break.  Our orchard crew is busy picking up limbs, cutting down any dead or diseased pecan trees, and burning the piles of limbs.  We will be pruning the young trees that were planted last year and have around 100 new trees that will need to be planted this year…as always lots, lots, and more to do at this Nut Farm!

 

 

Louisiana Conservation Magazine Article

Here is a great article that was written a few months ago about how we utilize as much of our resources on the orchard to conserve.

“Conservation is making the most of what you’ve got,” said Mark Swanson. “We do our best to take care of the land, our trees, and our cattle—and we leave the rest to the man above.”

 

From Louisiana Conservation Magazine – January 2014 (1MB PDF) – How Natchitoches Pecans makes a little go a long way.

Louisiana Conservation Magazine - Jan 2014 - Natchitoches Pecans Article

 

Christmas Is Coming Fast In The Pecan House

The way the pecan house phone has been ringing this week has reminded me of how busy last year was the week of Christmas!!!  If this week is any indication of what is about to break loose for pecan gift orders I better call the North Pole to see if Santa can send me some of his elves to help us out.  I would even offer to rent them from him – LOL!   The ladies that work in our pecan store and packaging building are busy from the time they get to work until the lights go out when they leave.  I have named them my “Pecan Elves” !

It is very important to get your pecan orders placed to ensure availability.  Once our stash of scrumptious fresh pecans, pecan candies, pecan pralines, and pecan gift tins are depleted, customers that have waited too long to get their orders in will be disappointed to hear ” Sorry we are unable to fill your pecan order because we are SOLD OUT!”

 

Bye for now – gotta go get paper work ready for ship outs tomorrow…..

Pecans: The Perfect Gift For Any Holiday

It’s here –  Six days before Thanksgiving and only thirty three days before Christmas!  If you have not gotten your fresh pecans for your holiday baking it is time to do so.  There is a very good article by Forbes about why the pecan may be a bit pricier than last year.  This article mentions Natchitoches Pecans and quotes Mark about taking care of our customers year in and year out.  The link can be viewed online at http://www.forbes.com/sites/nadiaarumugam/2013/11/06/why-you-should-buy-pecans-for-your-thanksgiving-pie-now

Remember that you can shop from your chair by going to our secure online store 24/7 and browse our fresh pecan selections  – In Shell Pecans Cracked Pecans Shelled PecansPecan Gift TinsGourmet Flavored PecansPecan Praline Combinations and Pecan Cookbooks.  The 2013 pecan crop is shorter than anticipated and availability of top quality pecans will be gone soon.  Our last day for shipping will be Dec 20 but orders shipping that date will need to have been placed by Dec 15th.  Make everyone on your list happy by giving them the perfect gift – PECANS!

2013 Natchitoches Pecans Harvest at Little Eva Plantation

Our 2013 Natchitoches Pecans’ pecan harvest is underway. We have worked very hard all year tending our orchard.  This year’s pecan crop at Little Eva Plantation looks to be good.  It is not a limb breaking crop but most all the  trees have some pecans on them.  We would rather have a good crop year in and year out as this does not stress the trees like a limb breaking crop does.

Yesterday Oct 31 (Halloween) we had over 7 inches of rain within a few hours.  We were in need of some rain but were a bit concerned when the rain kept falling and falling and falling.  Thank goodness our pecan orchard is on high ground and drains very well.  The weather is perfect today – Nov 1 – the  sun is out and temperature is in the 70’s so all should be dry enough to resume pecan picking on Monday.

Check out our newest videos on our YouTube channel that shows Mark on the pecan shaker shaking trees.  Or to see post of the pecan harvester picking pecans go to 2013 Louisiana Pecan Harvest.  All for now … post again in a few days!

 

Pecan Harvest is Near

The 2013 pecan harvest at Little Eva Plantation is just around the corner.  Mark has been busy cleaning the pecan orchard floor of pecan limbs that have broken from the heavy load of nuts on them.  Limbs are always an ongoing chore that has to be done throughout the year.  The orchard could still use a good rain that would help with opening of the pecan shucks as well as supplying the pecan trees with the water they need right up until harvest.  The tractors,  pecan harvesters, and the  pecan shaker have all been serviced and are ready to go.  The pecan warehouse equipment has been inspected and adjusted.  All we are waiting on is the PECANS to open and fall.

Our retail store is filling up with lots of items for this holiday season.  In addition to our delicious Louisiana grown pecans and gourmet flavored pecans,  we have many unique gift items available in our store.  So if you are in the area please stop by.  You can also view our FACEBOOK page to view various items in the store as I post daily.  You can also follow us on TWITTER and GOOGLE+.

Pecans – The Perfect Gift

The 2013 holiday season is fast approaching.  We have been busy making decisions on what pecan gift choices will be available for this holiday season.

Our trademark gold logo pecan gift tin in a 1 lb or 2 lb size makes a great corporate gift or individual gift for that special someone.  This season we are adding a new color tin – a bright metallic red. The gold  Fleur de Lis label added to the top of the gift tin adds a touch of elegance. This pecan gift tin will be available in the 1 lb or 2 lb size.

Stay tuned for more updates of what’s to come for this holiday season!

Pecan Gift Tins

Pecan Gift Tins