March/April 2022 - 31

" We do not want mold in a box, " Miller
stressed, but also noted that beyond mold
prevention, nothing much happens if nuts
are dried just a little further.
Miller Pecan's policy is for a 3.5-4%
moisture level for packing. A little less
than that and it becomes an issue not
necessarily of quality, but of weight loss.
(Too far, however, could damage the
kernel's color, quality and flavor, but also
reduces too much weight.)
" When you crack 2 million pounds of
kernel, two percent is quite a bit of weight.
So, you're kind of shooting yourself in the
foot, " he said.
While every area in the U.S. is a little
different due to conditions, nine times out
of 10, said Miller, the farm's pecans are dry
enough when they come out of the field. In
exceptionally wet years, they'll have to put
air on them to get them dried down. This is
very different from other areas that pick early
to catch the gift pack market, during which
the nuts are picked while still green, need
dehusking, and need air to get dried down.
And this is one of the biggest points
Miller can make to growers who are
preparing their crops for the processor -
keep them dry.
" A lot of what we see is grower's picking
pecans when they're too wet, and these
growers aren't equipped to get them dried
down, " said Miller. " If you have too much
moisture in that kernel, and it's sitting in
a barn somewhere, it can sprout or get
embryo rot. "
Debris is less of a concern, as Miller has
seen that most growers do a good job of
cleaning before they get to the facility.
" If you definitely want to get the top bid for your pecans, you want to get
known for doing a really good job cleaning them, " Miller said.
Byproducts and retail
The trend of using tree nut byproducts is growing, and Miller's pecan shells are
finding their use in other industries. Aside from being used to cover walkways
and as mulch (evergreens and azaleas love the nitrogen), the shells have also
been used in oil fracking, sandblasting and meat smoking, with another endeavor
in the works for use in the beer industry.
Miller Pecan also has an affinity for retail - the shelling facility has a retail
storefront complete with an assortment of goodies. It also appreciates the
longevity of high quality pecans and tries to emphasize proper storage for both
growers and retail customers alike. And while the company packages and sells
its own pecans, it will also buy back the pecans sold to candymakers or will have
the nuts custom coated. Their selection is broad - from in-shell or raw, to pecan
oil, to flavors like chipotle cheddar, cinnamon spice or chocolate praline coated.
As for future plans, Miller Pecan will continue planting its acres and growing
its online wholesale and retail business. Customers include name brand food
companies for whom they pack, the locals on the search for a nice gift, and
out-of-state shoppers looking for a tasty, quality snack.

March/April 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of March/April 2022

March/April 2022 - 1
March/April 2022 - 2
March/April 2022 - 3
March/April 2022 - 4
March/April 2022 - 5
March/April 2022 - 6
March/April 2022 - 7
March/April 2022 - 8
March/April 2022 - 9
March/April 2022 - 10
March/April 2022 - 11
March/April 2022 - 12
March/April 2022 - 13
March/April 2022 - 14
March/April 2022 - 15
March/April 2022 - 16
March/April 2022 - 17
March/April 2022 - 18
March/April 2022 - 19
March/April 2022 - 20
March/April 2022 - 21
March/April 2022 - 22
March/April 2022 - 23
March/April 2022 - 24
March/April 2022 - 25
March/April 2022 - 26
March/April 2022 - 27
March/April 2022 - 28
March/April 2022 - 29
March/April 2022 - 30
March/April 2022 - 31
March/April 2022 - 32
March/April 2022 - 33
March/April 2022 - 34
March/April 2022 - 35
March/April 2022 - 36