Georgia is called the “Peach State”, but did you know the state produces the most amount of pecans than any other state in the country? New Mexico and Texas follow close behind, but whether its butter pecan ice cream or a granola bar, chances are it has some sort of ties to Georgia.
Nearly 70 people work at Lucky Lady Pecans, Gifts, & More, making them one of Harlem's largest employers. The company produces nearly 5 million pounds of pecans and that pumps in around $30 million in sales.
“A lot of things happen year around…people think we are seasonal. We buy the pecans from October through February and shell and process them year around,” says Ruth Tracy Blackburn, the CEO of Lucky Lady Pecans.
There is the processing plant, where a lot of things happen before the pecans are shipped out. The pecans first come in as shells, then they're sorted and sampled, then they're roasted, packaged, and shipped.
“Pecans lower your bad cholesterol and help people with diabetes…of course, the natural pecans with no sugar on them,” says Blackburn.
But, you don't have to be a health nut to enjoy pecans! The gift shop has everything from pecan oil to flavored pecans.
“We have Prailine, Cinnamon Spice, Angel Honey, Sweet Georgia Heat, Sweet and Salty, Key Lime…which is very popular,” Blackburn says.
There's one question that comes up a lot…how you actually pronounce it…PUH-KAAN or PEE-CAAN. Blackburn says there's no right or wrong way, but it's just a matter of where you're from.