Friday, November 20, 2015

Schalfly Thanksgiving Market 2015- Pecans

 This Saturday ~ NOVEMBER 21 @ SCHLAFLY - 
7620 Southwest Ave
 Market List-
Grass fed Leg of Lamb, Pecans, Rainbow Cherry Mix Tomatoes, Slicing Tomatoes,
Super Food Salad Mix,
Cherry Serrano Pepper Jelly and LAST week for Sam's Famous Salsa if you are out there
Brian, this is it.
DECEMBER 12th for TOWER GROVE @ The City Garden Montessori School-
then December 21st @  Schlafly
Not much accomplished on the farm this week. We had to get another van licensed and on the road- to my home town Senath, Mo for the pecan crop. Not as good this year as last but here is a pic showing the picking up process.

Then over the border to Leachville, Arkansas/Buckeye to have them cracked.
These pecans, while they are not paper shell are easy enough to crack by hand but extremely time consuming. I guess that's why someone invented the machine to crack them.
I spent a lot of time at the "cracker's" about 5 hours waiting for the process to be finished. And me being me, I asked a lot of questions. Actually one of the workers told me that the Paper Shell pecan is the hardest crack in this machine. Here is a pic of the inside of the first part of the process. The pecans are poured into this hopper on the machine. As you can see, each pecan is conveyed one at a time to the punch which holds the nut in place while a little  hammer slams it into another small piece of steel. This has to hit hard enough to break the shell in man pieces but not crush the nut. While you are there, you hear, Blam, Blam, Blam. It's kinda like a punch press. After this happens to EACH pecan, they are put into another machine which looks almost exactly the same but instead of hitting each nut, it tosses them and blows air through and around to loosen the shell. Many pieces stay intact but much of it falls off the nut completely. This process is called "Cleaning" and it blows most tiny pieces off. The fresher the pecans are, the slower this part of the process is. The shells stick to the nuts until they dry some. This point is how you usually see them at the market before they are shelled and bagged. When you see a sign that says "Cracked" pecans, it means it has gone through these processes. Finally after 4 and 1/2 hours I told them the rest of the cleaning would have to be done by me as I needed to drive back in that rainstorm we had Tuesday night. When I get them home,  the bags have to be turned so they don't mold while I am "Picking" the rest of the nuts out of the shells. The perfect ones are put into bags for you
and the "pieces" are sold and used for pies or saved for my Granola.  One thing that you for sure need to know is that the pecans you see in the store now are mostly LAST YEARS pecans. The way to tell this is; a "New" pecan is golden and they darken as they age. This is not a great picture above, it shows the solid shape but not the light color. The ones at your grocery store and Wally World are dark brown.  You might get a few dark ones in a New batch but primarily they are light brown.
Another interesting fact is that the cracker told me that his imperfect pecans are sold and used in Hershey and other candies produced all over the world, sent to China and then sent back to the US. It's kinda mind boggling if you could see this little place out on a dirt road in the middle of what seems like no where.

Food Huh? Go Figure.

And in conclusion, we are at SCHLAFLY this Saturday from 8:30 -12. We have 2 pretty good sized leg of lamb if you are having a big gathering or just want leftovers. I always do.
See ya there for all your holiday accoutrements - Apple Pear Chutney and Apple Butter made from Pesticide free Apples and Robins Local Honey Garlicky Chili Sauce, Pickles, Smoked Tomatillo Salsa, Pickled Hot Peppers and of course Pecans for pies and just all around good health.
God's Blessings on you and yours
Bill and Sam

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