Monday, November 7, 2011

It's raining Pecans Mommy !

Just outside of Shreveport, the Pecan Research and Extension Station covers about 90 acres, 65 of which are in pecan trees. The U.S. Department of Agriculture established the facility in 1930 and transferred it to the LSU AgCenter in 1973.  It is the only university research facility in the country exclusively devoted to this nut crop. The research focus remains the same – develop management practices to make pecan growing more profitable, not only in Louisiana but all over the Southeast. On average, pecan production adds about $12 million to the Louisiana economy each year.
I had the privilege of being included on the Pecan field trip with the kindergartners. Charlotte was really unhappy to be awoken from her sleep and be wheeled around in the cold.
But the sulking did not last very long, the excitement around her soon prove to be much too contagious.
It was very cold and windy. The kids were completely bewildered by the Pecan Shaker. What? a machine that can shake an entire tree and make all the nuts fall ! A Giant Tree Pinata meets the Giant Truck Shaker, expect a massive rain of pecans that cause as much frenzy as candy would have.
Pecan tree shaker
Pecan harvester/Picker
These little workers soon learn the art of picking, green ones are not ready, black ones are too old, pretty ones with nice print are the treasure to go after. Charlotte's frown fell off her face as quickly as she jumped off her stroller,  marched straight to plea for a brown bag almost as large as she is ,and waddled along leaving no pecan nut unpicked in her way. They laboured so hard and when they could no longer carry the weight of their own harvest, they turn to me for help with completely fulfilled smiles.

There is something about the warm sun on a cold fall day, something about waggling leaves/pecans and harvesting food, something about getting together with a group of loving mothers and something about the explosive enthusiasm of highly charged children. Maybe it is the vitamin D, maybe it is the feminine energy, maybe it is the bewilderment. I feel like sponge soaked up with what is true and good. Even though my stroller was caked with mud, my back aches after the massive negotiation to get them to leave, packing up production and eventual delivery of the Sonic bribe. It is was a beautiful day and I am motivated for some pecan recipes. 

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