I am always happy to feature nuts of any kind here on this blog, mostly because I grew up in Northern California where they are grown. I use nuts fairly regularly in my baking and my cooking and I miss living right where they are grown. I have featured several nut growers from California during Thirty Days of Food, but today I get to feature pecans from the great state of Texas! Jennifer Wammack of Berdoll Pecans joins us today to talk about her and her family’s passion for pecans!
JENNIFER WAMMACK OF BERDOLL PECANS
Cedar Creek, Texas
When did you start farming? What brought you into farming?
My dad started farming 35 years ago!! He planted 5,000 pecan trees. Now there are 15,000 pecan trees on 340 acres. He got into farming because his dad passed away when he was 15 and had land, but my dad had to find a way to pay for the land. So he planted pecans trees.
What chores did you have growing up?
Picking pecans, cracking pecans, talking to customers, carrying boxes out for customers, giving samples, helped my dad change irrigation in the pecan orchard, lots of errands for parts when machines broke down.
Are there any differences between your farm now and when you were a kid?
Lots more machines than manual labor!
Who farms with you and what are their roles?
What started as a family business has changed a little.
My parents started the business. My twin brother helped my dad a lot, while my sister and I worked in the retail store with my mom where we sell the finished product. This all started in 1982. Since then my husband and I have bought the retail store. Our 2 small children love to help us. The orchard was sold 4 years ago. We have a great relationship with the orchard owners and purchase our pecans from them. The orchard is 2 miles behind our retail store. We ship worldwide!
What has been the hardest part of farming for you?
Weather, seasonal operations and mother nature! I have seen my parents work all year long for the harvest of pecans every October and then the whole crop be destroyed by freezers, hail, too hot, too many rain, etc.
What has been the most satisfying part of farming for you?
Local, top quality product that customers LOVE!!!!!!
What crops (or animals) do you grow and why?
Pecans!!! Because that is what my parents started! We love them! Have them at every meal!! I love our business!!
What do you think was the most useful advance in farming such as machinery, genetics, chemicals, etc.?
Timing!!! Timing is critical!!! People think you can spray one week late! It will ruin your crop. They think you can irrigate next week- You can’t!!! Managing time and doing certain procedures at the right time has to be done!!!
What is one thing you’d like to get across to the general public about what you do?
(Most wont like this, but this is our answer) Organic is way over rated. The nutrition value is not that much better and it works on a very small scale like gardening but is almost impossible on a commercial level!
What advice would you give to anyone interested into getting into your field?
Be ready for hardships!!!!! Working weekends are critical! Be ready to spend more money than expected. There have been years we have hired helicopters to fly over our orchards to put off heat in order for the pecans to not freeze!!!
What is your favorite thing to do with the food crop you grow?
Make things, eat them, and sell and share with others that are going to make something they love!
Any memories you want to share about this feature ingredient?
Cant come to our house if you don’t like pecans! Our dogs used to eat pecans out of the orchard!!!!
These cookies were super simple, but yet pack a punch of flavor. They’re buttery and the perfect amount of sweet. I HIGHLY recommend chilling the dough though, as balling them for baking will prove to be tricky when the dough is just mixed.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract (sub regular vanilla if needed)
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 1 cup pecans, chopped & toasted
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter for about 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth. Add the sugar and brown sugar, beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt together. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients slowly until combined and beat on low speed. Add the toasted pecans and white chocolate chips.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill at least 2-3 hours. Remove cookie dough from fridge 20-30 minutes before ready to use. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking sheets.
- Scoop the dough into 1 tablespoon sized balls of dough and place on baking sheets. Bake cookies 10-14 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on cooling rack.