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It's A Good Year For Pecans In Central Texas

A collection of pecans
Mose Buchele
The quality of pecans in Central Texas this season is high.

When the wind picks up you can hear it. Whether it’s the cracking of shells hitting a sidewalk or the sharper smack of nuts bouncing off a tin roof, it’s a sound that says pecan season is here.

And this year, it’s a good one in Central Texas – though it’s not easy to say why.

“The more you know about pecans, the more you realize you don't know,” Texas A&M horticulturalist Larry Stein says with a laugh.

A rainy spring helped. The trees also tend to take a year off between producing a lot of nuts, and in much of the Hill Country, this is a year when they are producing.

Stein says the quality of pecans is also high.

“That's all due to the dryness. It’s been super dry for the last eight weeks or so,” Stein says. That dryness means “no disease, so that's probably helped the quality."

That quality and abundance means you might see more people than usual walking around town with a bag in their hand and their eyes to the ground.

Pecan hunting is a treasured Texas tradition, but it’s also a way to make money. People gather up bags of the nuts, sell them to accumulators who then sell them further up the supply chain until they are shelled and turned into a booming global commodity.

That’s how a single pecan on an Austin sidewalk couldmake its way to the dinner table at a New Year’s party in China.  

Whether you're hunting nuts for fun or profit, this weekend might be a good one to give it a try. Winds blowing through with an incoming cold front are sure to scatter plenty of pecans all around town.

Got a tip? Email Mose Buchele at Follow him on Twitter @mosebuchele

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Mose Buchele focuses on energy and environmental reporting at KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @mosebuchele.
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