Will There Be Enough Pecans for Pie this Holiday Season?
My wife was on the phone with my mom last night planning what each of them would be providing for our annual Thanksgiving get-together in Terrell, TX. My better half is always responsible for the pumpkin and pecan pies because she just happens to be a master baker. (Apparently baking is a special talent, or so I've been told by several of the women in my life over the years. Who knew?) Since pecans grow on trees, it got me to wondering if this year's hurricanes have had any effect on the pecan crop this season.
The U.S. is the largest producer of pecans in the world. The pecan is the State Tree tree of Texas, and it's one of the top three pecan growers in America. The top two are Georgia and New Mexico, respectively. While those three are far and away the biggest producers, Louisiana also produces a significant pecan crop.
This was supposed to be a banner year for pecan production, but this season's hurricanes put an end to that. According to the University of Georgia Pecan Extension blog, Hurricane Irma will go down as the most damaging wind event in the state's history. When Irma roared through Georgia on September 11th packing wind gusts of 50-75 mph, it damaged virtually every pecan orchard in the state. The result is projected to be 30% loss of Georgia's pecan crop.
Texas and Louisiana's pecan growers were affected by Hurricane Harvey's onslaught. Both are predicting an average year, though totals will not be fully known until the harvest season ends in January.
Louisiana was expected to produce around 15 million pounds of pecans in 2017, but with Harvey's damage, that estimate has been dropped by 3-4 million. In an article from the Louisiana Radio Network, LSU AgCenter Associate Professor Charlie Graham says that it's still going to be a better year than last for pecan production in the Pelican State. BTW--Pointe Coupee Parish northwest of Baton Rouge is typically the number one pecan producer in the state.
I'm just glad Illinois, Indiana, Ohio are not affected by hurricanes, because that's where most of the country's pumpkins are produced. I can take or leave pecan pie, but take away my pumpkin pie and it just ain't Thanksgiving.