Now that I'm in the South (ish), there is a whole new world of produce opening up to me. And with PickYourOwn.org, fresh from the garden is just a drive away. Back when I was in the market for blueberries and blackberries, I made a phone call to a pecan farm (knowing nothing about when pecans were in season). I was advised to call back in November, sometime after the first frost. On Tuesday, Kyle had to scrape his windows before going to work. That's my cue!
I was the only one at the farm this morning, but the woman whose backyard I was in told me exactly what to do. The nuts have just started falling off the tree. She said if I were looking for 20 pounds of pecans I should come back after a big wind storm. Who on earth gets 20 pounds of pecans? Anyway, she also told me that the black ones had fallen off before they were ripe and I should avoid them. Go for the lovely light brown ones! Most of them were out of the husks, so the whole thing was like a giant Easter egg hunt. Joyous.
At first I was going along a path like a little kid, grabbing every pecan I could find on my way to the Tree That Had Not Been Picked Yet. And once I got to that tree...I'd say I resembled more of a squirrel. There were pecans everywhere! In no time at all I had much more than what I'd planned on picking. I was gathering handfuls and bringing them back to my grocery bag.
For some reason, I'd expected the trees to look a lot like fruit trees - small and gathered in a grove. But this really was just a backyard full of very large, normal looking trees. I keep comparing them to the black walnuts we played with when we were little (they turned our hands black and made Mom mad :P ). These were much nicer than that, although I did try to scrape the husk off a green one and now my thumb is a little black so it looks like they are pretty similar.
Unlike blueberries and blackberries, you can't taste-test the pecans as you pick them, which was pretty disappointing. When I got done picking, I made sure to ask to borrow a nutcracker so I could taste what I'd gathered. I was surprised to see the nutmeat was a gorgeous golden color with pale insides. They taste as good as they look - I've eaten a handful already. Being labor intensive makes them the perfect snack because then it's hard to eat too many at once.
And there you have it! Four pounds of pecans for $10 - what a steal. I really want to see how much a pound of shelled pecans compares to the same de-shelled. I don't think the bathroom scale can handle such subtleties of weight though.