Pecan grower Jason Kennedy checks on the progress of Stuart pecans in the family's Lyons, Ga., orchard, where the Kennedys have been growing and selling pecans for the past 125 years. Of the 500 varieties of pecans, Kennedy grows about 30, mostly Sumners and Desirables. The pecans pictured here will be ready for harvest by mid-October.
Photos by Sue Ade/Morris News Se
I'm just crazy for pecans, so when pecan grower Jason Kennedy invited me to visit him at the family's pecan orchards in Lyons, Ga., I was delighted to accept.
Within a few minutes of our meeting, however, I grasped how little I really knew about pecans and how much I could learn from this 35-year-old Georgia native.
Coming from a family with a 125-year history of growing and selling pecans, Kennedy's relationship with the pecan orchards is deep-rooted and pride-filled.
He remembers his grandmother's account of her grandfather grafting pecan trees and can recall, with great clarity, walking the orchards with his late grandfather, where the pair picked pecans from the ground, by hand.
Today, Kennedy relies on harvesting machinery to "shake" pecans from the trees, after which they are cleaned and sorted, shelled, sorted again and United States Department of Agriculture color-graded (the preferred color being light and golden).
The pecans we purchase from the supermarket have usually deepened into a less-than-ideal dark amber color due to their sitting on store shelves for one, two or more years.
With the pecan growers' ability to deliver "tree-fresh" pecans from the orchard to you in typically a week's time, there's really no reason to compromise flavor and freshness especially now that the pecan harvesting season is upon us.
Plus, Kennedy says the 2007 pecan harvest will be perhaps the "best in 15 years," so this is a particularly ideal time to squirrel away fresh pecans for yourself and for holiday gift-giving.
Beginning Monday, Kennedy's "fresh season-only" pecans in the shell, or in shelled quantities of two, five and 10 pounds, may be purchased through his Web site at www.freshpecans.com, or by calling (888) 355-3737.
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