Uncracking the History of Pecans: The Stahmanns Story
Welcome back to the next edition of “Uncracking the History of Pecans”, our newest blog series where we explore the history of our favorite nut. After breaking down the history of pecans in North America and our favorite state, New Mexico, it’s time we take our story a little closer to home. This month, we’re taking you on the most important journey of all: our own.
The pioneers: Changing course & breaking new ground
As we discussed last month, the real beginning of New Mexico pecan production began with our very own father-son team, W.J and Deane F. Stahmann.
What you probably don’t know about that story is the path we were on before we suddenly changed course. A few years before our historic pecan planting in 1926, W.J. Stahmann, a buggy-maker from Wisconsin, purchased 2,900 acres of land in the Mesilla Valley with the goal of growing cotton. (That’s right, not pecans, but cotton). After making their way southwest, W.J. and Deane cleared the land and planted several acres of cotton, experimenting with different types and even setting up research farms in Jamaica and Mexico to grow cotton year-round.
After developing a number of new varieties of cotton that are still grown around the world to this day, our wise founders decided to switch up the business. Starting in the 1930s, the Stahmanns decided to begin planting pecan trees between their cotton plants, before fully leaving their cotton business behind in the 1970s. They planted over 4,000 acres of pecan trees in that experimental era, breaking new ground in the pecan industry and setting us off on a story four generations deep.
The evolution: Making headlines & breaking records
After breaking new ground and planting the largest commercial batch of pecan trees in New Mexico, Stahmanns Pecans quickly started making waves in the industry. Soon after our first endeavor into the world of pecan production, the Stahmanns started dreaming even bigger, with plans to expand our business to other continents.
This big dream transcended into a real plan in 1965, when Deane’s son, Deane Jr., planted 1,800 acres of pecan trees in Australia with the intention of creating the first commercial pecan operation in the Southern Hemisphere. Those first trees were planted at Gatton in Queensland and shortly after, at a flagship property called “Trawalla” near Moree in New South Wales. This secondary step took our dream to new heights, officially establishing us as the largest pecan-producing family in the world.
This global expansion changed our futures forevermore, cementing Stahmanns Pecans as an American success story. As a result of the record-breaking news, our farm was regularly visited by Hollywood celebrities in the 40s and 50s, with even a major feature in Life Magazine. While these accolades brought us constant joy and satisfaction, our plans were truly just beginning.
The impact: Golden perfection & community connection
Following years of growth and popularity across the globe, we quickly started becoming a household name around town. To give back to our community and connect on a deeper level, we decided to open our farm to the public for retail opportunities. In 1983, the first Stahmanns country store was opened, and with it, a new local tradition began.
After nearly three decades of precious memories made and tasty treats shared, our country stores and candy business closed their doors due to the economic shift. While it was difficult to close that chapter with our community, we were happy to start a new one with fresh focus and excitement. Today, our mission lies in premium wholesale pecan production and shelling for small-to-large businesses.
As a result of our decades of hard work, perseverance, and evolution, Stahmanns Pecans remain one of the most sought-after pecan brands in the business. We are proud to serve customers across the world, with our signature nuts used by famous brands and businesses all over the globe.
Our reputation as the best pecans in the world still stands strong after nearly 90 years, and to that, we thank our loyal customers and local supporters. We couldn’t do it without you. Thank you for being part of our story.
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