Buyers expect good pecan season

Published 9:52 am Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Irma claimed
3rd of Georgia crops

It’s almost time to harvest pecans, and while it’s a it’s a bit soon to tell how successful the local crop will be, Alabama’s nuts should be at a premium after Irma damaged much of Georgia’s 2017 crop.

“While some growers were hit harder than others, (Georgia) as a whole has estimated a 30 percent loss or just north of 30 million pounds,” reported earlier this month.

“We are expecting a 50-60 percent crop from this area,” Tony Holmes of Holmes Pecans said, “I expect a pretty decent year for pecans.”

In Opp, Jeff Parker of Wiggins Co., said his family has been buying pecans for 50 years.

“This is a family-run business; our only income,” he said.

He said prices could be lower this year.

“We will find out more on prices within the next few weeks,” Parker said.

As of Thursday, reported prices for shelled pecans ranged from $3.25 to $6.10 per pound, while prices for in-shell pecans ranged from $1.25 to $3.11 per pound. Prices were trending up.

Holmes explained that in his business, the preference is for edible pecans, not a specific type.

“If you’re looking to sell your pecans, don’t wait until the end of the season. Make sure to get the early prices.” Parker said.

Pecan season can run from the middle of October to the end of November.

For those who will harvest pecans as they fall from trees, Doug Chapman, a regional commercial horticulture agent with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System said, recommends picking them up quickly.

“Don’t let them lie on the wet ground for extended periods of time,” he said.

“Make sure to place them in a sack, don’t place them in any plastic bins,” Chapman said.

Once the pecans begin to fall from the tree, they begin to dry and cure. If they get wet, they can stale and turn rancid. Collect them, and store them in a dry place for up to two weeks.

The drying is the most important step.

“If possible, spread the pecans out in a dry, moderately warm place and dry several days before storing. Once dried to a crisp texture, pecans should be refrigerated or frozen.” Chapman said.