Slim pickings for pecans
Season to produce less
THE 2017 pecan season started in April and is proving to be a much quieter period than 2016, which saw 70 tonnes of pecans produced.
Boyne River Pecans in Mundubbera owner Michelle Chicken said in her experience, every second year was a lighter year.
“Pecans do alternate there, you have an up and
❝ Pecans do alternate there, you have an up and down year and this is one of our lighter years. — Michelle Chicken
down year and this is one of our lighter years,” Mrs Chicken said.
“It’s also had an impact because we had a really dry summer and the river allocation was cut off on the Boyne for a while and we had some water issues so that had an impact on our crop.
“The bulk of our nuts go away to Toowoomba and they’re sold to Australia’s biggest pecan grower and also exporter Stahmann Farms.”
The prediction for 2017’s pecan season is expected to sell half of what it sold last year.
“This year we’ll probably take off about 40 tonnes but our highest crop we’ve had is about 70 and since it’s alternate bearing they do have that variance in crop but this is a lot lighter than we originally expected,” Mrs Chicken said.
“They’ll go to Stahmann but we also process some of our own and sell them locally through different shops and farmers’ markets and online.”
The pecan season will end in June but it’s not over for the workers.
“We’ll start processing them then so once they’re off the trees then they’ll be dried down and we shell them and process them and take them to different food festivals and farmers’ markets and local retail,” Mrs Chicken said.
Pecans are popular in the North Burnett region and have some health benefits.
“Absolutely, they’re growing in popularity and every year more and more people are becoming health conscious. Pecans have got some great nutritional attributes, they help lower cholesterol and are full of amino acids and things like that,” Mrs Chicken said.
“Quality hasn’t been affected by the drought but it has affected our tonnage.”
It is important to note that storage is a vital component to getting a good tasting pecan, Mrs Chicken said.
“From here they get dried down to about six to eight percent moisture content and once they’re moist they either go into cold rooms or into freezers,” Mrs Chicken said.
“In a freezer or in a cold room the pecans will keep fresh for 12 months.”
LIGHT YEAR: Michelle Chicken with the pecans at Boyne River Pecans.