Texas Living

Texas Pecan Farms: A History and Where to Pick Your Own

By Susannah Hutcheson 10.30.20

Texas pecan farms cover about 70,000 acres across the state. Pecan trees are our quintessential harbinger of fall, and as our state tree, they’ve been an important part of Texas culture since the beginning. Many of us have shelled our share of pecans, and most of us have a pecan pie at the center of our Thanksgiving tables.

Here’s how Texas’ pecan farms began — and where you can visit to pick your own.

exas Pecan Farms
Wynn Myers

Texas’ Pecan Farming History

Texas’ love affair with pecans goes back to the 1500s, when Native Americans relied on them as a source of healthy fats and nutrients. Pecans store well, making them easy to hoard for cold winter months and long journeys. Their durability, in fact, is what earned them their name: The word pecan comes from an Algonquin word meaning “nut that needs to be cracked with a stone.”

It wasn’t long before the popularity caught on among the first Texas settlers. Records show that the first Texan pecan was exported sometime in the mid-1850s. Since then, Texas pecan farms have flourished into an important agricultural staple.

Today, pecan farms are flourishing, and across the state we can look forward to our fall bounty.

exas Pecan Farms
Wynn Myers

Texas Pecan Farming Today

Dan Berdoll, a pecan farmer in Cedar Creek, has seen the Texas demand for pecans grow since he bought the land his pecan farm now sits on. When he was 20 years old, Berdoll leased the land for the cattle that was on it — his original trade business. But there were pecan trees there too.

That plot of land is now Berdoll Pecan Farm, a booming pecan orchard that’s home to 3,500 pecan trees and a bountiful yearly harvest. The way Berdoll sees it, Texas is the perfect spot for pecans, especially in the West, where the days are sunny but the nights are cool.

“You get to work in the shade and a drought won’t take you out because [the farm] is irrigated,” Berdoll says. “Pecans are high-input, but you get a lot more out. I’ve had a lot, and I’m 79 years old.”

When you’re out picking pecans, Berdoll says to examine them carefully: You need to look at the actual pecan to see how good they are. “Look to see if they’re not real shriveled up. You don’t want real dark, but ones that are a lighter color. Kind of like the color of honey or butter.”

exas Pecan Farms
Wynn Myers

Pick-Your-Own Pecan Farms

While most Texas pecan farms around stick to harvesting their own pecans, there are a few gems that will let you pick your own. Here are a few of our top spots:

K2 Farm, Kennedale: Pick your own pecans right outside of Fort Worth at this farm. Take home as many as you can carry. They also offer to shell your pecans on-site.

San Saba River Pecan Company, San Saba: Have a real pecan farming experience and get an actual old-fashioned cane pole to “thrash” the pecans during your self-harvest.

Sunnyvale Pecan Orchard, Sunnyvale: Just 15 minutes from Dallas, this pecan orchard lets visitors pick their very own paper-shell pecans. Visitors can also watch pecans be shaken off the tree and harvested.

Walls Family Farm, Terrell: At this family-owned orchard, you can pick pecans, blackberries, and nursery stock on your way in and a Christmas tree on your way out.

Enjoy your handpicked pecans in a traditional Texas way by baking them into a delicious pecan pie.

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