Harrell Nut Company: History of the Pecan Industry, Part 2: The 1800s

March 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

For 40 years, Harrell Nut Company has shelled and distributed high-quality nuts to customers across the country. The Georgia complex, located in the heart of one of the country’s top pecan producing regions, hosts corporate offices as well as cleaning, shelling, packaging, distribution, and retail facilities. Similarly, the company’s Texas center shells, stores, and distributes pecans grown in yet another top producing area. Both facilities maintain continuous Safe Quality Food (SQF) certification.

By the early 1800s, the pecan had become a commercial product. Colonists in the Americas had begun a steady export of pecans to the West Indies, while the southern United States harvested and sold both cultivated and wild nuts. The most popular varieties, those large in size and with thinner shells, were highly sought after.

These easily cracked nuts became more easily cultivated after South Carolina farmer Abner Landrum developed a way to graft desirable wild varieties to domestic trees. This discovery was publicized later in the century when a slave gardener by the name of Antoine successfully cultivated a grafted tree and showed the results at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. Known as the “Centennial,” Antoine’s breed has become the ancestor of today’s most popular nut varieties. Meanwhile, nut production had begun in the state of Georgia.

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