The month of October is harvest season for one natures finest creation. The beloved pecan. It's big business and a big tradition. Whether eaten straight from the shell or cooked in a favorite recipe the pecan remains a favorite.
When it comes to the fall harvest of crops don't forget about pecans. The LSU Pecan Research station located in southern Caddo parish holds some 100 acres of pecan trees and is one of the top producers in the state. Charles Graham is the Louisiana state director for pecan research is the state wide specialist. Even traveling into Mississippi and Arkansas.
October is prime season for harvest but is delayed by of all things weather.
Graham says "We are seeing a large delay in the average ripening times of all varieties because we were so cool in the springtime. That caused development early in the season to be much slower than normal. So we are running some two or three weeks later in the fall."
Pecan trees begin producing nuts at some 7 years of age and are usually productive for, well a long time.
How old will these trees grow to. Graham says "Three or four hundred years. Yes. Pecans are very long lived. And usually what takes out a very mature pecan tree when it gets to be so large is lightning. It gets to be the biggest thing left around so naturally it gets to be the focal point."
As for the Ark La Tex how is the pecan crop this year? The Ark La Tex itself it is actually down. Louisiana has a small crop probably about 5 million pounds. Texas in the order of 25 to 30 million pounds. So in general down for this area. That will lead to higher prices this year, plus bigger demand for exports to overseas countries such as China
There are some 80 year old trees at the research station that produce pecans.
And how fortunate something that tastes so good is nutritionally good for you.
Dr. Dennis Wissing of university health director of their master of public health program.
Dr. Dennis Wissing operates the Masters of Public Health program for University Health and state "Pecans like any nut are healthy, very good source of antioxidants and just overall good healthy food for you. Pecans specially have high levels of vitamin E which are anti cancerous helps in the cardio vascular system. Good studies in men specific about one quarter cup will significantly lower your serum cholesterol.
And one more bit of advice from Dr. Wissing.
He says "Those of us that have pecan trees. We ought to welcome our neighbors to come pick them up from our grass because they get quite populated in our yards. And it's good to share among each other's families and neighbors each other's pecan trees"