In 1885, Moses Winlock “Lockie” Pearson and his wife, Cornelia Emory “Emma”, moved to Fort Valley, Georgia and planted the first peach trees for the Pearson family. Now more than 100 years later, Pearson Farm grows both peaches and pecans on the very same land. Peaches are shipped to grocers all over the Southeast. Pecans are packaged and sold to retailers as well as part of Pearson’s mail order business.
Last month the Association of Food Bloggers planned a field trip down to Pearson Farm. Pearson is known for their peaches and pecans. Peach season is huge and draws a huge crowd. However, pecan season is nothing to sneeze at, either. But it is rather short, lasting just about two months.
Our first part of the visit involved visiting the acres and acres of land where the pecans from Pearson Farm are harvested. We saw the process of shaking the trees for the pecans to fall and we were even challenged with cracking some pecans ourselves. I did it! The secret is squeezing two against each other to crack the shell.
Next we visited the sorting facility and glimpsed what it is like to make sure that the different grades of pecans are sorted correctly and bags weighed, etc. Shh…we even saw the regular cheap grade pecans that competitors sell. There’s no comparing that to the delicious pecans that Pearson Farm harvests.
If there is only a short window of time to harvest pecans, what can you do to extend their freshness and enjoy them outside of the season? Here are some tips for storing pecans.
· Pecans kept at room temperature in a sealed airtight container will last up to 45 days.
· Refrigerate your pecans to expand the freshness for 9-10 months.
· When frozen in an airtight container, pecans can last up to 2 years.
· Store alone. Pecans have a high oil content and have a tendency to absorb odors when stored with other items.
· Keep in mind that in-shell pecans will last longer than roasted or candied pecans.
Mary’s Broccoli Salad
1 Bunch of Broccoli chopped in small pieces
1 pound Bacon fried crisp ( easy if cut up in pieces before cooking)
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup Pearson Farm Crumbles
4 green onions chopped or 1 small sweet onion chopped
Mix all together except bacon and add dressing of
1 cup Mayonnaise (I prefer Dukes)
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Add bacon just before serving.
Better if made the night before..
Pecans make excellent gifts. Pearson Farm offers their pecans covered in chocolate or in assorted varieties. You can see the full line of Pearson Farm mail order pecans here. Thanks to Al and Mary Pearson for their hospitality and all the staff at Pearson Farm for having us to tour the farm and enjoy a tasty pecan-themed lunch with them!