The Pecan Harvesting Process in Stages.
After wrapping up our year-long blog series, “A Year in the Life of an Estate Grown Pecan Farm,” we hope you were able to gain a deeper insight into our daily life at Stahmanns Farm. But, if you missed an entry along the way or are looking for a quick view into the pecan harvesting process, look no further.
From the first tree planted to the last truckload delivered, every step along the way is one we deeply value and enjoy. For us, delivering tasty, fresh pecans to the world is a true labor of love, and we’d love to share that process with you. Keep reading to follow the Stahmanns pecan harvesting process from Stage 1 to Stage 11.
Stage 1: Planting
Pecan trees take about 10 years to sprout healthy pecans after being planted. This process began over 87 years ago when the first trees were planted by W.B. Stahmann, and commences each time we expand and plant new pecan trees.
Stage 2: Preparing
This is the step of the pecan harvesting process where we prepare the soil around the pecan trees for their next year of growth, and remove wood and other debris to allow for this process to begin. Once any wood is removed, our team sustainably shaves the wood and puts it back into the soil to keep it fertile and fresh. Throughout this time, our team is out on the field consistently loosening up the soil to provide moisture and air to the roots as they grow new pecan nuts.
Stage 3: Growing
Every year, pecans sprout and bud naturally on trees from March to December. Our team encourages this growth process by spraying zinc and fertilizer onto the trees to foster pollination and overall health.
Stage 4: Irrigating
This process is vital to continue to cultivate growth through our hot New Mexico summers. When available, natural irrigation via rainwater is always welcomed to encourage sustainability, but is often supported using a series of nearby canals to maintain optimal moisture levels. Throughout the irrigation process, our team continues to rip up the soil to ensure the moisture penetrates the pecan trees at their root, all while keeping the grounds mowed and cleared of disruptive plants and weeds that may diminish growth.
Stage 5: Shaking
After a long late winter, spring, summer, and fall of growth, our pecan trees have finally reached their peak levels of growth. It is now time to begin the official pecan harvesting process every December, which involves shaking the trees to release the pecans from their branches. Unlike in our original days where trees were shaken by hand, we now employ hydraulic arm shakers on our farming equipment to speed up this process and allow for a maximum yield.
Stage 6: Gathering
Once all of the trees have been shaken to optimal levels and all pecan nuts are released, all that has fallen onto the ground is collected for the next stage of the pecan harvesting process. All debris is gathered into piles and then transported into our dump trailers with the help of our trusted sweepers.
Stage 7: Sorting
After everything has been collected into our trailers, a conveyor at the top of our large sorting tower sifts through all of the content as it cascades down and separates the pecans from the remaining debris. Once properly sorted with the expert eyes of our team, the pecans are transported to our on-site shelling plant for the cleaning process.
Stage 8: Cleaning
Once our precious cargo has arrived, our team thoroughly washes and cleans all of the pecans, ensuring that they maintain optimal moisture levels for peak cracking in the shelling process. If too much moisture has been removed in the cleaning process, pecans may run through a soaking process to regain peak moisture levels.
Stage 9: Shelling
From there, our on-site shelling plant meticulously filters through our pecans and cracks the shell from the inner pecan, creating 2 perfect pecan halves. The machinery then separates the shells from their inner pieces, and our team double-checks that all outer shells have been removed by hand. Throughout this entire process, moisture levels are continually checked to uphold peak freshness, crunch, and flavor.
Stage 10: Packaging
Now is the time to prepare our pecans for our beloved customers. All of our Stahmanns Pecans are packaged into 30lb bulk cases for wholesale customers, with some customers purchasing entire truckloads of our crunchy pecan nuts!
Stage 11: Shipping
All that’s left is to ship off our labor of love to the customers and consumers who will enjoy them in an assortment of ways. Stahmanns Pecans are delivered to happy customers all over the world with the help of our on-site sales manager and customer care team.
Final Stage: Time to Experience Stahmanns for Yourself
Now that you’ve learned the entire pecan harvesting process from planting to shipping at our historic farm in La Mesa, New Mexico, all that’s left to do is order your first shipment of our premium bulk pecans. Chosen by leading grocers, bakeries, pecan rebaggers, and industrial leaders, Stahmanns Pecans provide a tasty crunch, a dedicated team, and a deep history all in one. Contact our team today to discover the pinnacle of pecans.