Growing pecans is an agricultural business. Pecans and pecan trees are susceptible to a wide variety of natural pests, fungi, weevils, insects and other blights. They share this common burden with all agricultural products. Growing pecan trees as organic means omitting the widely available fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides routinely used by non-organic pecan growers. Alternate methods must be used to fertilize the pecan trees. Beneficial insects have to be encouraged to manage the bad insects and pecan weevils. And care must be taken to manage watering and orchard management practices to minimize or eliminate fungi and other natural pecan tree and pecan nut threats. And as with all crops an extra prayer and bit of good luck are always helpful.
Selling pecans as ‘organic’ is a certification issue. Organic certification comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and requires that the orchard be free from pesticides, herbicides and fungicides as well as commercial fertilizers for a period of three years. The 2010 harvest will be Cleveland Organics’ first year free from all these artificial ingredients. While we wait to achieve USDA organic certification in 2012 we refer to our pecans as natural pecans or naturally grown pecans.
We have over 50 years of experience growing pecans. 2010 is our first year shelling our own naturally grown pecans. Our shelling plant is certified by the USDA as organic in this first year. This allows us to shell and package certified organic pecans for other Georgia growers.
As part of our naturally grown process, we are growing crimson clover as a cover crop to help maintain the orchard floor and provide nutrients for the pecan trees. Soon we will be offering natural crimson clover which will be certified at the same time as the orchard.
We are home to a host of honey bee hives for local bee keepers. They appreciate the more natural environment that our farm offers. It also means the bee’s honey will be considered natural and hopefully one day organic. Make sure you order a jar of this “better for you “ natural honey from our online store.
Also watch for more natural pecan candies and creations as we develop our product line. They will be perfect for making up holiday and any time gift boxes.