North Carolina Pecans - Carolina Country

North Carolina Pecans

A holiday tradition in pies, pralines and pieces

By Carole Howell

North Carolina Pecans

A single acre of mature, well-managed pecan trees can yield up to 1,500 pounds of unshelled pecans.

You could argue over stuffing versus dressing or cranberry conserve versus jellied sauce from a can. It seems that everyone is set to defend and demand his or her holiday food favorites. What they don’t seem to squabble over is an undying devotion to pecan pie and its traditional place at the table.

Originating in central and eastern North America and the river valleys of Mexico, pecans historically have been favored because they’re easy to crack and have a great taste when eaten by the handful or added to recipes.

They’ve been prized and marketed since the 1600s, but have seen a booming increase in popularity over the last three decades.

“Not so long ago, most families had a few backyard trees and used their harvest for holiday baking,” said Tim Haithcock, owner of Indian Springs Pecans and Farm in Goldsboro, and president of the North Carolina Pecan Growers Association. “If they had enough to sell, they used the money to pay their taxes.” 

Today, North Carolina has grown far beyond the backyard pecan tree to create an industry that produces, in an on-crop year, 3 million to 5 million pounds annually. Our state consistently ranks among the top states in the nation for pecan production with Georgia topping the list.

“New varieties developed by the USDA’s Pecan Breeding Program at Texas A&M University may be well suited for North Carolina’s growing conditions and have some disease tolerance and a shorter maturation time,” said Michael L. Parker of the Department of Horticultural Science at N.C. State University. Most growers are east of I-95 and in the southern piedmont region, but pecan trees thrive all over the state.

Varieties adapted for planting in North Carolina require 200 frost-free days from pollination to maturity. According to the North Carolina Pecan Growers Association, well-managed, mature pecan trees can produce up to 1,500 pounds per acre. Prices average $1 a pound for in-shell pecans.

And while most of North Carolina’s pecan crop is consumed right here, demand for this popular nut is spreading worldwide.

“China has developed a taste for pecans,” said Parker. “I have been told that they soak them in soy sauce and serve them as a delicacy.” In 2013, China bought more than 50 percent of the total U.S. production, and prices for these healthy, tasty nuts rose as demand increased.

“North Carolina has a great environment for growing pecans, and it’s a crop that has a great future,” said Haithcock. “I think they’re going to grow in prominence as a crop to export.”

For a sweet way to dress up your pecans, try this Pecan Pralines recipe from Pecans, a Savor the South cookbook by Kathleen Purvis.

About the Author

Carole Howell is an independent writer and amateur muscadine grower in Lincoln County. You can read more about her at walkerbranchwrites.com

Comments (33)

  • Do you know of any local farms or orchards that sell pecans in the shell near Lincolnton ?

    Tim Lowe |
    November 08, 2015 |
    reply

  • According to buyncpecans.com, the nearest to Lincolnton is Pecans & Craft Shop at 304 N. Post Road in Shelby (704-487-9934). I think, but I’m not sure, that they also mechanically crack and shell pecans if you need that service.

    www.buyncpecans.com/locate.php

    Carolina Country |
    November 09, 2015 |
    reply

  • Do you know where I can get unshelled pecans in Maxton, NC, Laurinburg,NC, Lumberton, NC, Bisco, NC, Hope Mills, NC, Rockingham, NC 28379., Albemarle, NC, Fayetteville, NC, Smithfield, NC?

    Ivye Sowders |
    December 06, 2019 |
    reply

    • You can try this website. Many grocery stores also offer local pecans out of the shell. http://www.buyncpecans.com/locate.php

      Carolina Country |
      December 09, 2019 |
      reply

    • I have a bunch trying to sell them but want best price

      Sarah spivey |
      November 22, 2020 |
      reply

  • Where can I sell my unshelled pecans?

    Patti Jackson Anderson |
    October 30, 2020 |
    reply

  • I am looking for the nearest location to Charlotte, N.C. where I can take my unshelled pecans to get them shelled by machine. Does anyone know where I can go to get this done? Please reply if you know.

    Jennifer McDowell |
    November 30, 2020 |
    reply

  • Where can I buy pecan and pecan products near Pineville.
    Thanks.

    Rajendra Desai |
    December 01, 2020 |
    reply

  • I have alot of pecans im trying to sell them in north Carolina can u recommend me a place

    Joyce A Lewis |
    December 02, 2020 |
    reply

    • Hi Joyce,
      If they are shelled I'd be interested in buying some.

      Thanks.

      Rajendra Desai |
      December 02, 2020 |
      reply

    • Hello Ms. Joyce .
      Where are you located at . It doesn't matter if they are shelled or unshelled . My mother in Jacksonville would love to buy as many as she can , but can't seem to find a seller in Onslow county .

      Regina Yopp |
      December 09, 2020 |
      reply

      • MT Olive

        Christy L Champion |
        December 12, 2020 |
        reply

  • shelled or not I would be interested in some as well
    Cost per pound or 25 pound bags?

    tim lowe |
    December 02, 2020 |
    reply

    • I have plenty

      Christy L Champion |
      December 12, 2020 |
      reply

  • I have approximately 300 pounds of unshelled pecans in Mount Olive, NC that I would like to sell.

    Sandra Head |
    December 09, 2020 |
    reply

  • I'm in seven springs and I have bout 500 pounds of unshelled pecans trying to sell but no one is buying around here

    Paul |
    December 10, 2020 |
    reply

  • Price per pound?
    I'm just below Hickory

    tim lowe |
    December 11, 2020 |
    reply

    • A dollar a pound for unshelled and I'm bout 4 hrs from hickory

      Paul |
      December 12, 2020 |
      reply

    • Im not far from u i dont think. I'm in MT Olive

      Christy L Champion |
      December 13, 2020 |
      reply

  • Im in MT Olive and ive got a few 100 pounds of assorted pecans for sell!

    Christy L Champion |
    December 12, 2020 |
    reply

  • How much per pound?

    tim lowe |
    December 12, 2020 |
    reply

    • $1 per pound

      Christy L Champion |
      December 13, 2020 |
      reply

  • A dollar a pound

    Paul |
    December 12, 2020 |
    reply

  • Where can I sell pecans near the Fayetteville or Hope Mills area & Tarheel area? If anyone can help it would be appreciated!

    Tasha Carrillo |
    December 14, 2020 |
    reply

    • Hi Tasha,

      Are they shelled or unshelled? What is the per pound cost and what is the minimum (or maximum) I need to buy?

      Thanks.

      Rajendra |
      December 14, 2020 |
      reply

      • They still have the shell on them . I would like to get $3.00 a pound . There is no limit .

        Tasha Carrillo |
        December 16, 2020 |
        reply

        • 910-759-1189 is my
          Number

          Tasha Carrillo |
          December 16, 2020 |
          reply

  • I am looking for someone to buy a. Couple hundred pounds of unshelled pecans around goldsboro area noone seems to be buying them. 252 230 9835

    Lauren |
    December 14, 2020 |
    reply

  • I have around 400 lbs. of Stuart pecans for sale... any buyer out there.
    19108901534

    Teresa Pope |
    December 18, 2020 |
    reply

  • Thanks Tasha but I'll have to pass. The distance is over 150 miles and the price is much too higher compared to other sellers in your area.

    Rajendra Desai |
    December 20, 2020 |
    reply

  • Trying to find a place in NC that will buy unshelled pecans. Located in Belhaven NC

    Rosalind Credle |
    January 04, 2021 |
    reply

  • I live in Sumter county sc. I have about 800lbs of Stuart unshelled pecans. Nobody, that I know of around here is buying. Is there anybody interested. I'm willing to drive a little distance.

    Robert moore |
    January 07, 2021 |
    reply

    • Hi Robert,

      I'd be interested in buying about 10 pounds. How is this Stuart variety rated in terms of kernel weight to the nut weight? I guess this determines the shell thickness. Also, are these fresh or aged pecans? How much is the per pound cost?
      Thanks, Robert.

      Rajendra Desai |
      January 07, 2021 |
      reply

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