• When It’s Harvest Time At Sorrells Farms

    It was a chilly somewhere between fall and winter day when Delinda Sorrells and I left the coziness of the Sorrells Farms retail store and made our way out to the Sorrells Farms pecan orchards, Delinda anxious to show me the farms in action and me not really knowing what to expect or exactly where my story would go once we arrived.

    To be perfectly honest, I’m not much of a farm girl; I spent way too many hours working for Fred Davis to have much love left in me for all that goes with that type of work and yet, I have to admit that seeing firsthand the fruits of the hard labors of Kinley and Gayland Sorrells, along with those who work alongside the father-son duo, did make me wonder if I should have given the life a second chance somewhere along the way.

    It was the sheer beauty of the place that first grabbed my attention, the orchard obviously manmade, and yet feeling so totally peaceful and undisturbed.

    Of course, those piles of leaves did not line themselves into rows, and yet in that particular moment, it felt as if they could have done just that.

    Of course, those piles of leaves did not line themselves into rows, and yet in that particular moment, it felt as if they could have done just that.

    My whimsical thoughtline did not have long to grow because within a few moments, Delinda and I were off to find a very literal Kinley, who was hard at work on the harvester, knowing that even with every single hour they can manage, it will take them until about March to finish this season’s harvest. But first, Delinda stepped out of the truck to show me just what lies under those rows of leaves.

    Under those beautifully raked rows of leaves lie the fruits of this year's labor...pecans.

    Under those beautifully raked rows of leaves lie the fruits of this year’s labor…pecans.

    It wasn’t long until we saw the harvester making its way down the row toward us. In the next series of photos, you will see exactly how the pecans are moved from the ground into the harvester.

    Because it is the way I learned it, I'm actually showing you the harvesting process backwards. Kinley does what he calls the harvesting himself.

    Because it is the way I learned it, I’m actually showing you the harvesting process backwards. Kinley does what he calls the harvesting himself.

    Kinley Sorrells

    Kinley Sorrells

    The harvester "sucks up" the leaves, etc. It keeps the pecans and shoots the leaves and trash out on the other side.

    The harvester “sucks up” the leaves,etc. It keeps the pecans and shoots the leaves and trash out on the other side.

    As the trash shoots out the side, the pecans are dropped on what appears to be a type of conveyer belt within the harvester.

    As the trash shoots out the side, the pecans are dropped on what appears to be a type of conveyer belt within the harvester.

    As I told you, I’m taking you on a backwards harvest here, and there are some things that have to happen before Kinley can put the harvester in gear.

    Before Kinley can harvest, the leaves and nuts must be swept/raked.

    Before Kinley can harvest, the leaves and nuts must be swept/raked.

    The machine blows the leaves, etc. to one side and then the other until it has created a neat row.

    The machine blows the leaves, etc. to one side and then the other until it has created a neat row.

    We still are not back to the first, however, because the harvest can’t happen, and the raking can’t happen, until Gayland has done the shaking!

    On this particular day, Gayland was busy elsewhere so Kinley fired up the shaker for me.

    On this particular day, Gayland was busy elsewhere so Kinley fired up the shaker for me.

    And then he headed toward a loaded pecan tree...

    And then he headed toward a loaded pecan tree.

    The "pinchers" grabbed the trunk of the tree...

    The “pinchers” grabbed the trunk of the tree…

    ...and down it all came!

    …and down it all came!

    Obviously, the ultimate goal is fresh pecans, which is exactly what we had on this very interesting day!

    Obviously, the ultimate goal is fresh pecans, which is exactly what we had on this very interesting day!

    And at the end of yet another long day of harvesting, pecans are dumped into a trailer to await the cleaning process.

    And at the end of yet another long day of harvesting, pecans are dumped into a trailer to await the cleaning process.

    Obviously, I’ve given you the nutshell version, no pun intended, of just what the growers mean when they say that they are “harvesting.”  The work is hard and yet, at the end of the day, the Sorrells family does love life, the family business, and the work they do. You can’t ask for much more than that, can you?

    About Fredda Jones

    Fredda Davis Jones was raised “in the country” in Comanche County and learned very early that creativity and innovation are traits that can flourish even in small-town Texas and that with enough effort, indeed nothing is impossible, including being married to the same man for over 40 years! Rickey and Fredda have 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and a crazy life that includes sitting in the bleachers several times a week. The rest of her time is spent creating great content for texansunited.com and marketing small-town Texas.
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