Slim pick­ings for pecans

Sea­son to pro­duce less

Central and North Burnett Times - - LIFE - Philippe Coquerand philippe.coquerand@cnbtimes.com.au

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.”

PHOTO: PHILIPPE COQUERAND

LIGHT YEAR: Michelle Chicken with the pecans at Boyne River Pecans.

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