You’ll notice there is no National today.  That’s because National Pecan Day falls in April.  Today is just Pecan day.  Don’t ask me the difference!  This is a NATIONAL Food Holiday tour, but I made an exception for this because… well I just didn’t understand it, and I’d rather include everyone that exile some.

So Pecans go back to the 16th century, and are the only major tree nut to naturally grow in North America.  Pecans were popular with Native Americans.  They were located near waterways, and were easy to find.  They had a shell that was much easier to crack than other American nuts, and of course they had a rich versatile taste.  Native Americans were the first people to cultivate the Pecan Tree.  They used the nut in many meals and to flavor many foods in the Autumn season.  They even had a special fermented drink made with Pecans called “Powcohicora”.  This is where hickory derives from.

Spanish colonists first discovered Pecans in Northern Mexico.  The first US colonist Pecan tree planting (opposed to harvesting) is said to have taken place in Long Island, NY in 1772.  By the late 1700’s colonists were exporting Pecans to Spain, Europe, and the West Indies.  The Pecan market grew, and New Orleans became the biggest marketer for growing orchards and selling Pecans.  In 1822, Abner Landrum of South Carolina discovered a Pecan budding technique of grafting the plant, which soon led to superior breeds of the plant.  Pecan groves and orchards popped up all around Southern United States and the Pecan business has been booming ever since!