Amongst the group of mostly non English speaking Chinese were two horticulturists, shop owners, and those involved in the shelling process. The purpose of the visit was to further familiarize the group with the pecan farming process… from growing, pruning, harvesting, shelling, and grading.
In recent years, the Chinese demand for pecans has skyrocketed. When the Chinese realized the health benefits and the price dropped lower than walnuts, they made an obvious switch to pecans. In 2012 alone, U.S. pecan exports to China jumped by 64%. That makes up about 20% of all pecans grown in the United States. That number is expected to grow to 1/3 in 2013.
The Sorrells have 1200 acres of improved and native orchards. Their favorite variety is the Pawnee variety because they are a bigger pecan and ripen early. However, the Wichita variety is most often exported because they are the most consistent. They sell both in-shell and shelled pecans both online and in their retail store. Stop by and see them!