One of my favorite things to do at the start of the holiday season is peruse old copies of Christmas cookbooks. Filled with elaborate tablescapes and gorgeous looking holiday meals, they immediately transport me into a holiday fantasy of effortless entertaining and endless time to cook.
Then, I start thinking about my Christmas to-do list and the fantasy fades.
Let’s be honest. While the holidays can be a time of rest and relaxation, they’re often anything but. I’m not necessarily saying the pursuit of something more peaceful is fruitless, but I have accepted the fact that finding a way to bring about a special holiday meal with a little more ease is something my sanity surely can handle.
No place is that more true than what I serve for Christmas morning breakfast. As a baker at heart, my first thought when making a special meal is always what can I bake that will be delicious (that won’t keep me in the kitchen all day). Years ago, I embraced a version of this Christmas Morning Pull Apart Bread (and have improved it over time) as an ideal way to serve something worthy of a Christmas morning breakfast without spending all of Christmas day baking it.
Christmas Morning Pecan Pull Apart Breakfast Bread Recipe
Makes 8 servings
- 1 cup orange marmalade or apricot preserves
- 1 cup Sunnyland Pecan Halves, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 2 (7.5-ounce cans) refrigerated biscuit dough
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Coat a Bundt or tube pan with cooking spray. Spread marmalade in bottom of pan; sprinkle evenly with pecans.
- Combine brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Dip each biscuit in melted butter; dredge in brown sugar mixture.
- Arrange biscuits in pan by standing each biscuit on its edge. Drizzle any remaining butter over biscuits and sprinkle with any remaining brown sugar mixture.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until biscuits are browned. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Invert onto a serving platter.
I’m not quite sure when I was first introduced to slab pies. But I am sure it was an awfully good thing.
What is a Slab Pie?
At first glance, a slab pie may seem like a solution to the problem of “not enough slices” in a regular size pie. But look a little further and what you’ll find is that the slab pie makes for the perfect eating experience. It’s thin enough to ensure the filling to crust ratio is just right. And in the case of this particular pumpkin slab pie, it showcases the centerpiece of the recipe -- the homemade candied pecans!
When I first started thinking about marrying two classic Thanksgiving pies into one fabulous slab pie creation, I thought about making a distinct layer of pumpkin pie and a distinct layer of pecan pie.
But let’s be honest. Sunnyland has already perfected the Pecan Pie in its classic form. So why tamper with perfection?
The Twist: Pumpkin Pie with Candied Pecans
Instead, I developed an entirely new twist on pumpkin pie by making a batch of candied pecans using Sunnyland’s pecan halves that dot the homemade pumpkin pie filling (Don’t you dare think that the canned shortcut is the way to go here), which is then layered between a buttery, flaky pie crust and dollops of whipped cream. (You do have my permission to go the shortcut route when it comes to pie crusts.)
What you get when you combine the two is an eating experience of bites of pure pumpkin pie followed by bites of a pumpkin-pecan combo that you won’t soon forget.
Nor will your Thanksgiving guests forget the presentation of this slab pie. Its expansive size and candied pecan garnish signal to everyone at your table that this isn’t your average pumpkin pie. And that’s something we can all be thankful for.
~by Regan Jones
Pumpkin Slab Pie with Candied Pecans Recipe
Yield 18 servings
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon water
- 3 cups Sunnyland pecan halves
- 2 homemade pie crusts OR 1(14.1-ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts (package will contain 2 crusts)
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 (15-ounce) cans pumpkin
- 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Garnish: whipped cream
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
- Mix sugar, cinnamon, and salt together in a bowl.
- Whisk egg white and water together in a separate bowl until frothy. Toss pecans in egg white mixture. Mix sugar mixture into pecan mixture until pecans are evenly coated. Spread coated pecans onto a Silpat lined or cooking spray coated baking sheet.
- Bake in preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, for 1 hour or until pecans are evenly browned. Remove from oven and let cool; reserve 18 candied pecans.
- Meanwhile, soften pie crusts according to package directions.
- Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
- On a lightly floured surface, unroll pie crusts and stack one on top of the other. Roll to a 17x12-inch rectangle.
- Fit crust into ungreased 15 x10 x1-inch pan, pressing into corners and up the top of the pan. Fold extra crust evenly over edges of pan.
- Sprinkle candied pecans (minus reserved pecans) over bottom of crust.
- Whisk together eggs, pumpkin, cream, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and salt in a bowl; pour over pecans in crust. Bake until set or about 35 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool completely, about 2 hours.
- To serve, cut pie into squares. Top with whipped cream and reserved pecans.
Your Holiday Shopping Guide as featured in Victoria, Southern Lady, and Taste of the South Magazines
Who doesn't love a good Hallmark movie? Especially with cooler weather and the Holidays coming up. A nice fire, hot chocolate, a nice bowl of pecans.
Wait, is this a movie about a Pecan farm? Why yes, indeed it is. Sweet Pecan Summer is one of Hallmark's newest movies from their Summer Nights Series.
You know those of us at Sunnyland HAD to watch how Hollywood would depict our actual lives. Of course, there were some discrepancies and inaccuracies, but overall, they definitely captured the farm-family feel we all know and love.
Image Source: IMDB
Pecan Q&A – What Did the Movie Get Right and Wrong?
We thought it would be fun to play a Q&A game with the movie to see how it relates to reality here at our own Georgia pecan farm. Here goes:
Question: Do farmers pick pecans by hand today?
Answer: Very rarely. Most pecans are harvested by shaking the trees, sweeping the nuts into rows, and then harvesting them mechanically. Occasionally in low lying areas or places too small for a tractor, pecans may still be hand-harvested, but the number of pecans harvested in this manner is a fraction of the total production.
Question: A bunch of pecans ended up on the ground after a storm. Could that happen?
Answer: This is definitely possible, especially during the Gulf of Mexico's hurricane season in the fall. Heavy winds and heavy trees can lead to very bad results for farmers, including Sunnyland Farms. In fact, in 2018, we lost our entire crop after Hurricane Michael came through Albany, GA, over 150 miles inland, still categorized as a Category 2 hurricane.
Question: The family talks about "sorting next" - is that accurate, and then what comes next?
Answer: Yes, this is accurate. Pecans are harvested in the orchard and then run through a Cleaning Plant where they are sized. The cleaning plant removes any debris not removed in the orchard, and then pecans run through a Sizer, which separates them according to size.
Question: The pecans were on the ground in the summer - why is that not accurate?
Answer: This is not accurate because Pecan Harvest typically falls between the months of October-Early December. Summer especially is crucial for pecan sizing and then later husk filling. If pecans are on the ground during the summer, they are off the trees prematurely and inedible.
Question: Is it likely pecans could be picked off the ground with that size orchard?
Answer: Not without what we call in the industry a SWEEPER, which is a large piece of equipment that assists in sweeping pecans into rows.
Question: Utah pecans? Is that a thing?
Answer: There are a few pecan trees in Utah, but they are definitely not grown there commercially. Pecans need lots of rain to fill out properly, and Utah is too arid for most commercial pecan farming.
Question: Why is Georgia the best place for pecans?
Answer: Of course, we are biased, but Georgia's growing conditions are very ideal for pecans, which is why Georgia usually ranks in the top two states for pecan production. The trees might grow just fine elsewhere, but you will not find ideal growing conditions for pecans.
Question: In the movie they celebrated with a "harvest cake." What is a harvest cake?
Answer: Again, we are biased, but if there is a dessert that revolves around pecan harvest, it HAS to be Pecan Pie!! But…yes, there is a cake known as the harvest cake. It's like a pecan pound cake with lots of pecans pieces and has a hint of coffee in the batter as well. Yum! Our Rum Pecan Crunch Cake is similar to this but with rum vs. coffee.
Question: Are there any traditions around harvest?
Answer: I think the biggest tradition around harvest, especially at Sunnyland, is a case of nerves. We prepare all year for this, and everything could literally blow away in the wind. It's our busy, stressful time for sure. Probably better enjoyed by those not in the trenches.
Question: How long do the pecan trees actually take to grow and mature?
Answer: A mature pecan tree that is producing as it should, takes about 10-15 YEARS depending on the variety.
Question: Pecan oil - does it soften hands, and are the benefits of its use in skincare?
Answer: Pecan oil contains vitamin E, which serves as a steroid that makes the skin become toned and maintained. We'd suggest using it in cooking as well because it has a high smoke point.
Now that Q&A is over, you can definitely purchase many, many products from us that were featured in the movie:
- The Best Pecan Pie: Our is BEST of the BEST and really an old-timey recipe resembling almost a caramel custard pie saturated with Sunnyland Pecan pieces.
- The Best Pecan Oil: Sunnyland's Pecan oil is Virgin Pecan Oil, a healthier alternative to many traditional cooking oils or butter that contain saturated fats.
- The Best Pecans: Sunnyland's Raw Georgia Pecans are always a favorite and are known the world over for being the very best in quality and size.
Scenes and Trailer from Sweet Pecan Summer
Pecan Hill, the "Georgia Pecan Farm" (not a real place)
Image credit/source: Hallmark
The Pecan Harvest Cake
Image credit/source: Hallmark
Check out Sweet Pecan Summer's movie trailer here – what do you think?
As a Pecan Farm and healthy gourmet food business, Sunnyland can make back-to-school snacks a breeze. Think Dried Fruit, Pecan Butter, Georgia Grown Pecans, Best of the Best Nut Mixes, Crunchy Granola, and maybe even some of our delicious baked goods, such as Pumpkin Bread. Whatever you choose, you absolutely cannot go wrong.
Staci Willson (one of our employees) and her daughter Sophie (age 9) thought it would be fun to make a Back-to-School snack mix, chock full of our delicious, HEALTHY Georgia Grown Pecans and Snack Mix. Sunnyland’s traditional snack mix already has plump Flame and Golden Raisins, Cashews, Almonds, and Virginia Peanuts, making the recipe crunchy and delicious. While this alone would suffice for an amazing snack, Staci and Sophie decided to take it up a notch and include a few kid-friendly favorites such as: goldfish, golden grahams, popcorn, and of course a few sweets such as marshmallow and m&m's.
Back to School Snack Mix RECIPE
Using easy, environmentally friendly containers, this snack mix would be easy to throw in a lunch backpack, or to simply throw in the car for the school pick up line. Whenever you do enjoy, the kiddos will certainly gobble it up and you’ll have to make more!
Charcuterie, which literally means ‘cold cooked meats’ or a store that sells cold cooked meats, is definitely all the rage right now. Most people associate the term more with a platter of cold, cured meats that include many different savory and sweet foods. All could include an assortment such as nuts, dried fruit, cheese, jam, honey, olives, crostini, the world really is your oyster!
Here are some of the traditional cured meats best-known in the charcuterie world:
Disposable charcuterie boards have really made an entrance into the specialty food gifting business, with many independent varieties popping up catering to the rage. Here’s a link discussing the trend: Charcuterie Boards Are All The Rage: How to Host the Perfect Party - Schaller & Weber (schallerweber.com)
Best Nuts for Charcuterie Boards? Pecans of Course!
Here at Sunnyland, we have many products that go perfectly with a charcuterie board, such as:
- Artisan Beef Jerky
- Honey Kissed Pecans
- Dried Pears
- Black Truffle Marcona Almonds
- Heavenly Mix
- Mayhaw Jelly
- Pecan Logs
- Pure Gallberry Honey
The list could go on. (Are you having a tough time deciding? You can mix and match in our DIY 1-pound bags here.) Here is an image featuring many of these products:
How to Put Together a Charcuterie Board
Creating your own Charcuterie boards really is very simple:
1. grab a nice cutting board (we really like the look of wood)
2. select one or two really nice cheese selections such as Asiago or Smoked Gouda
3. choose one or two cured meats to compliment. Proscuitto is always a favorite as well as maybe an herb cured salami.
Once the cheese and meat are chosen, the rest is simple!
Purchase a few of your favorite nuts (Sunnyland of course) dried fruits go particularly well here (dried pears are a favorite around here) and finish it off with a nice honey (gallberry) and maybe a spiced jam. Place crackers or crostini around the board and voila, you’ve created your very own charcuterie board! Enjoy at your next special gathering or a relaxing night in. If you'd like to make your own flavored pecans - sweet, savory, or spicy - make sure to start with Sunnyland's high-quality raw pecans as the base.
As we have been fourth-generation pecan farmers for over 80 years, we frequently hear misunderstandings and misconceptions about our favorite tree nut (the pecan of course) as well as other nuts.
We thought we would share some context and behind-the-scenes information and answers around a few questions we hear frequently:
- why are pecans so expensive?
- why are some tree nuts more expensive than others
- why are tree nuts more expensive than peanuts?
To nut lovers worldwide, the price is a small consideration when weighed with the health benefits and pleasure they get from having high-quality nuts on hand for snacking, baking, cooking, and treating themselves.
At the same time, many people don’t know much about what goes into producing and selling a tree nut, like a pecan, so we thought we’d give you the scoop.
Cheap Nuts vs. Quality Nuts and Pecans: You Get What You Pay For
If you’ve never tried a fresh pecan before, you’ll be blown away by the difference you can find from a pecan fresh-from-the-farm versus one that has been sitting on a grocery store shelf for a long time:
- Color - the lighter, the fresher. The darker a nut is, the more rancid and tasteless it is.
- Size - often, with pecans, for example, the bigger, the pricier. Many cheap, low-quality nuts will be small compared to what they would look like straight off a tree.
- Odor - older nuts that have gone rancid have a plastic-y smell to them.
- Taste - you can often tell a nut is stale or old if it tastes “off” or tasteless. A quality nut should never be tasteless.
- Packaging - low-quality nuts are often reported to have many broken pieces, small pieces, and sometimes even insects inside the package (yuck!).
Why Purchasing Your Food Directly from a Farm Makes Sense.
Where you get food matters. For example, there may be a range of difference in pecans purchased:
- from a physical store like the grocery store
- from a third-party online retailer
- directly from a pecan farm
The costs associated with each supplier will be different. Pre-packed nuts on a shelf might have been sitting around for a long time. The price may be lower, but is the quality compromise worth it?
Caring about quality, freshness, and where your food comes from means understanding the costs that come from the process. What factors bring the nuts’ and pecans’ prices up?
- Made in the USA –in many parts of the world, overseas labor and products are cheaper (and often more cheaply made). If you are comparing US-grown, produced, and sold pecans and nuts, there is really no comparison as there are no shortcuts in quality. Additionally, many countries allow chemicals not allowed in the USA in order to maximize yields.
- Crop Year Matters – Maximum flavor comes from maximum freshness. If a pecan is super cheap, it may be old or not from the most current crop. When you buy from Sunnyland, we guarantee that you only get the latest crop. Our motto is “Only the Best” which means only the latest and most flavorful pecans you can buy.
- Harvesting tree nuts requires a great deal of labor. Take pecans, for example. They grow high up in the trees, and after gathering, cleaning, and drying must be sorted (we at Sunnyland only use the biggest, heaviest pecans and remove the rest), cracked, shelled, screened, dried, inspected, graded, and stored. At Sunnyland we still hand grade each nut to ensure its quality, whereas many other producers have completely automated the process. While automation is much cheaper there is still no substitute for the human eye for the final inspection.
- A premium product with a first-class experience and first-class customer service will mean having happy employees with low turnover. This means paying employees a living wage. Take it from us. Many of our employees have been around for 30+years. Our most tenured employee has been with us for 45 years.
- Harvest and Storage practices – harvest only happens once a year if you want fresh pecan. How do you know a pecan is fresh? It is light in color. The darker the pecan, the more rancid it is. We at Sunnyland Farms have harvest season, and to keep our harvest fresh, we use freezers set at between negative 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit to store our pecans.
- Yield - many people don’t realize that when you get a tree nut that is “double shelled” (meaning the nut is inside a husk that grows from the tree, and then inside of the husk is the actual shell), the actual, edible nut kernel represents a small percentage of the entire thing. So up to 50% of the nut is discarded, which means tree nuts are often a low yield product that requires a LOT of raw material (and labor!) see above. Fun fact – did you know here at Sunnyland Farms, our shells don’t go to waste? We incinerate the shells and use the steam created to power our shelling plant.
- World Demand – demand drives prices up. Then you have extreme weather like wildfires and droughts (such as in California), hurricane winds, tornados, and inclement weather (like we have in Georgia and experienced in 2018 with Hurricane Michael, and extreme cold and freezing lead to fewer products. As pecans have become more popular, the price has increased. Luckily, demand is starting to increase to so hopefully we should see a leveling off in the near future.
Why Tree Nuts Have a Premium Cost
Quality tree nuts cannot be manufactured in a factory or lab. They come from the earth, like many other produce products. However, tree nuts cannot be planted just anywhere. This is due to unsuitable soil, weather, and climate conditions. This restriction alone will limit the quantity, which in turn increases prices no matter the product.
Because tree nuts such as almonds and walnuts are only produced once a year and have low yields to crop areas, they can only grow in very specific conditions. Here are a few other things to know about how price is factored by the growing and harvesting process.
Why Are Pine Nuts Expensive?
That’s because pine nuts take at least 18 months to mature and are a challenge to harvest. It’s labor-intensive to harvest the seeds from their casing.
Why Are Almonds Expensive?
Almonds require a temperate Mediterranean-style climate. Did you know that California produces nearly 80% of the world’s supply and that bees actually pollinate almonds?
Why Are Walnuts Expensive?
Like all nuts, walnut prices have increased because they are more in demand than they used to be. Like pecans, they are grown high in the trees and produce a small yield, making the labor and harvest more of a task.
Why Are Pecans Expensive?
Pecans are grown in many countries, but like a warmer climate with just the right number of chill hours each winter. Pecan trees take 10 years to really mature and produce a real crop. They require a good deal of water, sun, and chill hours.
Why Are Cashews Expensive?
Cashews are expensive because they are tough to harvest without breaking the nut into cashew splits (a break lengthwise) or butts (a break in half). Additionally, cashew nuts are actually just a small portion of the fruiting part of a cashew tree, as shown in the picture below.
Why Are Brazil Nuts Expensive?
Brazil nuts require a tropical climate. They need to be wild-harvested from the shrinking Amazon rainforest from extremely tall trees.
Why Are Macadamia Nuts Expensive?
Macadamia nuts require a temperate climate. The trees take 7-10 years to start producing, and flowering takes 4-6 months, which means macadamia nuts mature at different times during the year.
Why do Peanuts Traditionally Cost Less?
Peanuts – which are not a “nut” but a legume, are related to peas and beans. The harvesting and cultivation of peanuts are typically automated. Plus, they’re a little less high maintenance than tree nuts as they can grow in more climates. There is a spectrum of peanut pricing: from the small, red-skinned Spanish peanut that costs less to the larger, crunchier more gourmet peanut grown in Virginia, which costs more.
What Is the Most Expensive Type of Nut in the World?
Drumroll…the most expensive nut in the world is….
The Macadamia nut!
With pine nuts following a close second.
However, even though some nuts are expensive, they are also nutritious, healthy, and good for you (check out our nuts and pecan health guide). Not to mention tasty, which means millions of people who choose to enjoy nuts, buy premium products, and invest in themselves and their health every day.
What Other Premium Foods Carry a Premium Price?
Many other beloved foods carry a premium price. Here are a few examples:
- vanilla beans
- maple syrup
- parmesan cheese
- almond butter
- wild-caught fish like salmon
The price of these items is due to conditions similar to pecans and other tree nuts (world demand, labor required, yield, freshness, and domestic vs. internationally grown, produced and sold, etc.). On top of that, the individual brand and producer’s employment wages and standards, whether or not they allow GMOs, growth hormones, or additives to make food costs cheaper, and quality of customer service factor in as well.
Many feel the tradeoff of a higher cost with a quality product coupled with better business practices and ethics is well worth it.
Tips for Buying Pecans and Comparing Prices
Here are a few tips for getting the best price for quality nut and pecan products:
- Buy in bulk – you’ll pay less per pound
- Know what crop year you are buying. Here at Sunnyland, we only sell you the latest crop. (check out our article here about pecan harvest season and how we got our crop from tree to your door).
- Look at color and size. If the size doesn’t matter or if you want pieces, then you can often save money!
- Understanding shipping costs. At Sunnyland Farms, our pricing includes shipping to the continental U.S.
While everyone loves a good bargain, it’s worth paying more for quality. We invite you to try and our high-quality Sunnyland pecans and nuts. We love hearing from customers and pecan enthusiasts – reach out any time, and we invite you to stay in touch and follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest).
Valentine’s Day at Sunnyland is of course all about Chocolate and Pecans, Pecans and Chocolate, and Chocolate and Pecans.
We have Choco-Pecans, Chocolate Pecan Clusters, Milk Chocolate Pecan Bark, and Dark Chocolate Pecan Bark, down to our famous Milk Chocolate Toffee. Whatever your sweetie loves, we are sure to have plenty of. See below for our full Sunnyland Valentine’s gift guide.
Gourmet Valentine’s Gifts For HER
We know that sometimes it’s difficult to know what she REALLY wants and we are here to answer…she REALLY wants our Sunnyland Cluster Duet. She can choose between our Milk Chocolate Pecan Cluster and our Dark Chocolate Pecan Cluster gift tin, the best gift for her around.
What Customers Say:
- "Bought 4 tins for family and friends, they were all ecstatic! I was bad and bought a couple for myself! You can't keep your hands off them!"
- "They were deliciously fresh and the chocolate was creamy and of the highest quality! I will be ordering the chocolate covered pecans again"
- "Chocolate covered pecan Heaven! Love the choco pecans, the packaging is wonderful even though I can sit and eat bag after bag. Each choco is just the right size and has just the right amount of chocolate on each pecan inside so you can’t each just one"
Gourmet Valentine’s Gifts For HIM
It might be even more difficult to shop for HIM on Valentine’s Day, and Sunnyland has the perfect answer. Our Toasted Salted Mammoth Pecan Halves and our Artisan Beef Jerky are just the ticket. Our world-famous pecan halves are the best of the best and hand-selected to be the very best pecans you will find anywhere. Our new Artisan Beef Jerky isn’t the kind you’ll find in the grocery store, this jerky is tender and spicy and hands-down delicious. The perfect way to say “I Love You” in a gentlemanly way.
What Do Our Customers Say?
- "Bought this jerky for the first time a couple months ago for my husband. He barely got any, I think I ate most of it!! We've found out favorite jerky, and have purchased more so he can actually have some! We won't be buying anything but Sunny land!!"
- "My husband says your Toasted and Salted Pecans should be outlawed! It's only 24 hours since they arrived and already there's more than a pound missing. Fantastic!"
Delicious Valentine’s Gift for the Family
We also love gifting for the entire family on Valentine’s, where each family member gets something that will suite their fancy. Our Limited Edition Sunnyland Valentine’s Sampler is the perfect shareable treat to share with teachers, family members, and friends alike.
What Our Customers Say…
"The pecan pralines are so, so delicious!! The pecans are so fresh and the praline candy is rich and tasty. I would highly recommend these pralines!!"
"Wow! I just opened my tin of Honey Kissed roasted pecans and they are FABULOUS! This was my first order from Sunnyland Farms but it certainly won’t be my last! Simply delicious!"
"I've ordered several times in the past and have loved everything they sent. I was glad to see they still have my favorites - glacee apricots and cinnamon pecans! My order was delivered exactly as scheduled, the week before Christmas. That alone was a feat this year!"
Decadent Valentine’s Gifts for Anyone (and Everyone!)
Above all, if you just can't decide on what delicious candy will please, our ChocoPecans are the perfect gift for anyone. Combining our wonderful Sunnyland Pecans and the best milk chocolate anywhere is the perfect way to say "I love you" this Valentine's Day.
What Customers Say:
- Bought 4 tins for family and friends, they were all ecstatic! I was bad and bought a couple for myself! You can't keep your hands off them!
- They were deliciously fresh and the chocolate was creamy and of the highest quality! I will be ordering the chocolate covered pecans again.
- Chocolate covered pecan Heaven! Love the choco pecans, the packaging is wonderful even though I can sit and eat bag after bag. Each choco is just the right size and has just the right amount of chocolate on each pecan inside so you can’t each just one
Sunnyland Farms Harvest Season is underway and like other Georgia Pecan farmers, an excellent pecan crop is anticipated.
This past growing season was a good one with adequate rainfall and plenty of good Georgia sunshine, making the quality of the pecan kernel and the amount of yield excellent. Sunnyland’s top pecan varietals are Desirable, Elliot and Pawnee, all of which look great this season and will be headed into our cleaning and shelling plants to fill Holiday and Wholesale orders alike.
Pecan Harvesting is an in-depth process, but in a nut-shell (no pun intended) the farming process begins with gently shaking a pecan tree with a mechanical shaker making the husks fall gently to the ground. Secondly the pecans are then swept into neat rows for our harvesting tractors to run over and place into large wagon containers. Lastly the container of nuts is then hauled back to our cleaning plant where debris (limbs, leaves, etc.) is separated from the husk and where Sunnyland’s lengthy sorting process begins.
While 2020 has had its challenges, we are proud of our farm team for adjusting to new stringent Co-vid procedures and are very excited about this year’s crop. While sales have increased for our homemade candies, baked goods and other nut mixes, our number one seller’s remain our 3-pound home box of Raw Mammoth Pecan Halves and our 3-pound home box of Pecan Pieces. Only at Sunnyland can you receive true “Tree to Table” pecans from the finest Georgia Pecan Farm around.
“Sunnyland Farms is a family-owned Pecan Farm and Specialty Foods business based in Albany, Ga. specializing in Farm-Fresh Georgia Pecans, Gourmet Nut Mixes, Dried Fruits, Chocolates, Handmade Candies & Cakes.”
Vegan Stuffing by Catherine Perez (MS, RD, LDN) @plantbasedrd
The holidays aren’t truly the holidays until stuffing is involved. If you’ve made stuffing before, I can promise you the little bit of extra effort involved in making your own transcends any boxed mix you can find. It’s also a little easier to tweak to your preference as well, which I really appreciate. Some extra cranberries and pecans in mine, please! And not sure about you, but I like being able to see the chunks of gooey bread in my stuffing. But maybe you like having yours a little more gooey. Everyone should be able to enjoy their stuffing the way they want!
So how do you make stuffing that is even better than the box mix? Super easy, throw some delicious buttery pecans and sweet cranberries into the mix and you have yourself a winner. I think the combination of the pecans and cranberries help to add some more texture to the stuffing I love with a little sweetness that helps compliment the savory holiday undertones. And it’s beyond delicious too. My husband who is an avid stuffing lover said this was his favorite batch he’s ever tried. A truly bold statement considering I think his mother is the queen of stuffing.
As a dietitian, I feel that seeing where you can add more nutrition is always my go to. You’ll find that this stuffing has a little more fiber to it thanks to the addition of apples, flax seeds, pecans and cranberries. It is also vegan, so no dairy or eggs needed. And it still has a buttery flavor to it thanks to the addition of the high-quality, straight from the orchard Sunnyland Pecans used in this recipe. Truly makes a big difference in flavor.
Tips for making a successful vegan cranberry pecan stuffing
- If you don't have day-old bread, you can use fresh bread and slightly toast it. Just cube your bread and spread it out evenly on a baking sheet and place in the oven for about 10 minutes to crisp up.
- Add additional vegetable broth slowly if you want to change the texture of your vegetable broth. Just add a little more at a time, making sure that your bread is soaking up the broth. The more you add the more soggy your stuffing will be, so be careful not to add too much at once because you won't be able to take it back. If I need to adjust, I'll just add about 1/4 cup at a time.
- Make it extra good by placing it in the oven to cook. Cover your dish with foil to cook your stuffing well and then remove the foil at the end to crisp up the top as it bakes. Don't worry, your stuffing will not dry out.
- Store extra stuffing away in a sealable container and place in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Vegan Cranberry Pecan Stuffing Recipe
Makes: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
1 large loaf of whole grain or sourdough bread, about 10 cups cubed
1 tbsp ground flax seeds
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp olive oil
3 stalks celery, diced
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1 apple, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups or more of vegetable broth
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 tsp dried fresh thyme
4 sage leaves, minced
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
Salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a 9x13in baking pan.
- Spread out the cubed bread on a baking sheet then place in the oven to lightly toast for 10 minutes and set aside (you can skip this step if you have day-old bread available, just cube and set aside).
- In a small bowl, combine water and flaxseed and mix together, then set aside.
- In a heated skillet, add olive oil, onion, and celery with a pinch of salt and sauté until softened, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add in diced apple and minced garlic and continue to stir together to help soften the apple, about 3 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat and in a large bowl add your cubed bread then pour vegetable broth over top evenly and stir bread to make sure it absorbs the broth well without getting too soggy. Adjust the amount of broth to your preference, remove from heat and in a large bowl add your cubed bread then pour vegetable broth over top evenly and stir bread to make sure it absorbs the broth well without getting too soggy. Adjust the amount of broth to your preference.
- Add the sautéed apple mixture over top along with the cranberries, pecans, thyme, sage, rosemary, and a generous pinch of salt.
- Fold ingredients together to evenly mix. Pour stuffing mixture into a large baking dish and spread out evenly.
- Cover your baking dish with foil and place into the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes.
- Remove cover and bake on the top rack of your oven for an additional 10 minutes to crisp up the top of your stuffing.
- Once done cooking, remove stuffing from the oven and serve along with additional sides and main entrees as desired.
Brazil Nuts are growing in popularity because more people are learning about the great nutrients they provide and benefits to our health.
Whether you’re a longtime fan who keeps Brazil Nuts in your snacking drawer, or you’re newer to this tree nut, we thought we’d give you a “Behind the Scenes” look at this healthy food that is gaining traction from more health-conscious consumers across the country.
What are Brazil Nuts?
Brazil Nuts are nuts that grow from tall, tropical trees in the Amazon rain forest. They grow in large shells resembling coconuts. Inside the shell, you’ll find 8-12 “in shell” Brazil Nuts. Those individual nuts are shelled, which give us the edible Brazil Nut.
Image source: Britannica.com
Image source: Palomar.edu
As with the case of many other “tree nuts,” they are not nuts, but seeds.
Brazil Nuts are skinless, very light in color, and mild. Brazil nuts tend to be a little more dense, are easy to crunch, and aren’t too hard. These delicious tree nuts are “meaty” and have a different texture than cashews or peanuts.
Where Do Brazil Nuts Come From?
The name, Brazil Nuts, is a bit of a misnomer as these nuts are mostly produced in Bolivia. They are also grown in Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela, and Brazil (although not as much as one would think). They require a significant amount of consistent rain and take about 15 months to mature.
Where is the Best Place to Buy Brazil Nuts?
Well, we might be biased, but here at Sunnyland Farms, we think we have the best Brazil Nuts you’ll find anywhere. While some specialty grocery stores carry Brazil Nuts, you can’t beat the convenience of getting them shipped to your door. And you won’t find any as fresh as ours. At Sunnyland Farms, we either sell what we grow on our farm, or we hand-pick other farmers we work with directly.
Our Brazil Nuts come from Bolivia. As always, we have guidelines and specific requirements for Brazil nuts. We ensure ours are the newest crop (which not many others do). We also ensure they are stored properly in a freezer at -10 or in a refrigerator until they are shipped.
Our products are named “Tiny Brazil Nuts” due to the international sizing format for Brazil Nuts. However, as our customers say, “they are not really tiny at all!”
What Color Should Brazil Nuts be?
Brazil nuts should be creamy in color. With some brands and types of Brazil Nuts that aren’t as fresh, they’ll be darker, with an off-taste or smell. They should be whole and healthy-looking.
Are Brazil Nuts Healthy?
Yes! Nutritionally, they contain dietary fiber and various vitamins and minerals, such as Thiamin, Vitamin E, Magnesium, and Zinc. They are one of the richest sources of Selenium, which is difficult to find and important to add to your diet.
What is Selenium?
Selenium is a trace mineral. Getting more Selenium into your diet in small amounts can be very beneficial. In fact, eating just 2 Brazil Nuts per day is effective for increasing Selenium. Selenium is critical for proper thyroid functioning and plays a role in the immune system. Selenium is also attributed to boosting testosterone levels, and having several advantages for men’s health.
Are Brazil Nuts Gluten-Free?
All of Sunnyland’s raw nuts are naturally gluten-free, with no sugar added. This of course applies to our raw Brazil Nuts.
Brazil Nut Storage: How Do You Keep Them Fresh?
As with our pecans and other nuts, we recommend keeping Brazil Nuts in the refrigerator or freezer in an airtight container. The lower the temperature, the longer nuts like the Brazil Nut will stay fresh.
How Much do Brazil Nuts Cost?
Brazil Nuts are a more exotic nut not as readily available as others nuts, such as peanuts. They aren’t naturally grown here in the US, so they must be imported into the US from vetted suppliers. This, along with the process of harvesting, shelling, and shipping Brazil Nuts, make its cost a little higher. Brazil nuts are mostly sold already shelled, not only for ease of consumption but also due to safety regulations across many countries. At Sunnyland, we sell our Brazil Nuts a few different ways:
- In bulk (check out our Home Boxes)
- In our gourmet nut mixes like our Royal Mix and PNutty Mix
- In our “Do-It-Yourself” 1-pound bags
Shop our high-quality Brazil Nuts today, and let us know what you think.
Somewhere over the last 20 years of being an avid home-baker, I realized that quick breads are a secret weapon:
They’re versatile -- Very few baked goods can double as both a dessert or a breakfast.
They’re easy -- No special equipment needed. Quick breads are usually a one or two bowl (max) baking project. You don’t even need to break out the hand mixer.
They’re perfectly portioned -- Yes, it’s nice to have a big show-stopping Pecan Spice Cake on special occasions, but for day-to-day sweet treats, the loaf pan size of a quick bread is just enough, but not too much.
They’re suited for gift giving -- Wrap a quick bread in a bit of parchment or foil, tie a bow around it and you can share a little something sweet from your kitchen. No box or wrapping needed.
… or, you can simply save the loaf for yourself and enjoy it all week long. That’s what my family has been doing since I first developed this Lemon-Pecan Streusel Bread for Sunnyland Farms.
We’ve enjoyed it for breakfast and snack time as is, but we’ve also topped it with fresh strawberries and whipped cream (think: the best strawberry-pecan shortcake you’ve ever tasted!)
While people often associate fresh from the orchard Georgia Pecans with traditional favorite pecan desserts like Pecan Pie Bars or Pecan Pralines, they’re also wonderful when paired with fresh & bright summer flavors like lemon, as well. The moist and tender crumb of the lemon bread (thanks to the help of a little sour cream in the batter) is the perfect texture pairing with the crunch of the streusel topping. And with streusel both INSIDE and OUTSIDE, this quick bread gives you a tasty of something in every bite -- from top to bottom.
So the next time you’re in the mood to bake something special, but don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen, Lemon-Pecan Streusel Bread is the recipe to choose. If you’ll keep it between just the two of us, it can still be our “secret” weapon.
Quick Bread Recipe: Lemon-Pecan Streusel Bread
Makes: 1 loaf
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (optional)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup Sunnyland Small Pecan Pieces
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup powdered sugar
1 - 2 tablespoons sour cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray (or grease and flour pan, if preferred.)
- Cream together oil and sugar; beat in eggs one at a time. Add in 1 cup sour cream, lemon zest and lemon extract, if desired.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Stir into wet ingredients until blended. Pour half of batter into prepared pan.
- Combine Streusel ingredients and sprinkle half of streusel over batter; top with remaining batter. Top with remaining Streusel.
- Bake for 50 - 60 minutes. (Be careful to check on bread at earliest time to ensure pecans are not getting too toasted.) Bread is done when a wooden pick insert into center of loaf comes out mostly clean.
- Let bread cool at least 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan.
- Meanwhile, combine Icing ingredients. (If Icing is too thin, add more powdered sugar; if too thick, add more lemon juice.) Once bread has cooled, drizzle Icing over loaf.
~Guest Post by Regan Jones, RDN, ACSM-CPT
Host and Blogger at This Unmillennial Life
Make-Ahead Pasta Salad: The Perfect Summer Side Dish or Main Meal
One of the things I love most about summer is how suited it is for make-ahead meals. Think about it -- the classic summer Southern meal is a potluck. And what do all potlucks have in common? Delicious make ahead dishes…
...Potato Salad, Coleslaw and Deviled Eggs just to name a few.
(And the desserts. Don’t forget the desserts!)
But being the food adventurer I am, I also love to mix things up a little when prepping a summer meal, especially one that I hope to share with friends. That’s where this recipe comes in.
I developed this Two Tomato Tortellini Salad with Toasted Pecans with summer in mind. Fresh from the garden summer-ripe tomatoes tossed with orchard-harvested Georgia Pecans are two of the best tastes you’ll find down south year after year.
This dish, though, branches out from it’s southern borders, by leaning on quick-fix cheese tortellini, sundried tomatoes and olives for a uniquely Italian twist on a simple make-ahead pasta salad.
While the recipe makes enough to feed a crowd as a side dish, it can also serve as a weeknight meatless meal option for a family of four. Pair some grilled fish or chicken with it and it becomes an even heartier dinner option.
Got leftovers? It’s arguably even better the next day as the flavors meld overnight. You can warm it gently in the microwave for a totally different take on pasta for lunch. The crunch and bite of the pecans pair perfectly with creamy, cheese tortellini centers. You likely won’t have leftovers for long.
It’s also worth noting that with a few tweaks, you can turn this dish into a completely different dish all together. Sub in spinach and ricotta stuffed ravioli for the tortellini and chopped artichoke for either or both of the tomato varieties. Use black olives in place of green and you’ve got an equally as easy make-ahead pasta salad summer dish. All that’s missing now is the potluck.
Two Tomato Tortellini Salad with Toasted Pecans Recipe
Makes: 4 Main Dish Servings or 6-8 Side Dish Servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
12 ounces cheese tortellini
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon Dijon or yellow mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup bottled sundried tomatoes, drained
1 large summer-ripe tomato, cut into wedges
1/2 cup green olives, sliced in half lengthwise
1 cup Sunnyland Large Pecan Pieces, toasted
Chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (optional)
- Cook tortellini according to package directions; drain and rinse with cold water.
- Combine garlic with next 5 ingredients (through black pepper). Toss with tortellini and remaining ingredients. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
~Guest Post by Regan Jones, RDN, ACSM-CPT
Host and Blogger at This Unmillennial Life
Mail order food businesses have evolved tremendously from when they first began hundreds of years ago. Although the Tiffany’s Blue Book catalog is credited as being the US pioneer for mail orders in the 1840s, the concept goes back further. Even Benjamin Franklin had his hand in selling goods through the mail.
With the invention of the Internet, mail order shifted from print and phone calls to online orders and doorstep delivery. Unfortunately, not all mail order food companies are created equal.
Why you should buy mail order food
One great thing about buying mail-order food products, especially as gifts, is that everyone likes to eat. Additionally, a food item is the perfect gift to buy for that hard to buy-for person everyone has on their holiday shopping list.
Over the last several years, the growing trend of online food shopping has meant more options. There is no shortage of companies providing mail-order food both through conventional catalogs as well as online.
While having multiple options can be a good thing, here are some things to keep in mind when buying food online:
- Boutique, specialized online food companies are small and extremely focused on quality and customer experience
- Online retailers, or superstores, generally sell products they don’t make; these retailers are the last stop in a long food supply chain, which often means less freshness and quality is compromised
Below you will find a few questions to ask when deciding on a mail-order food and gift company that you, your family, friends, neighbors and all gift recipients will be thrilled with.
How long has the company been in business?
Longevity is important for a number of reasons. Here at Sunnyland Farms for example, we have been shipping mail-order gifts and personal packages since our inception in 1948. We aren’t a company cutting its teeth in the new online consumer marketplace. We’ve been doing this for over 70 years so you can be sure that we’ve run into every issue imaginable. Short crops, limited packaging, delivery union strikes, lost UPS trailers; we’ve seen it all and managed to get our packages to our customers and their gift recipients through all of it.
Our experience lets you purchase with peace of mind. We guarantee “Only the Best” products and we guarantee your satisfaction. If you’re unhappy in any way then we’ll refund or replace with no questions asked. And with over seventy years shipping direct to our customers you can be sure your package will arrive at the right place at the right time.
Not only should you look for longevity, but you should also check out the reviews of the company over time to make sure customers remain thrilled with their products and gifts.
How is the product presented?
Presentation is one of the most important aspects of gifting. Nothing is more disappointing than finding out the product looks very different in person than it does online.
Sunnyland Farms offers almost all of its products in some form of gift packaging that is sure to impress. We offer gift tins, gift sets and gift boxes to name a few. We also have several wonderful gifts under $40 when looking to offer quality on a budget.
In addition to gift presentations, Sunnyland also offers our economical Home Boxes. These basic packaging options contain the highest quality products wrapped with no embellishments. Home Boxes provide the best value; just product in a poly bag inside a shipping box. This no-frills approach allows our customers to get the most bang for their buck!
Is the gift from a unique company?
What makes us unique isn’t the fact that we provide world-class mail-order gifts and food products direct to consumers. What makes Sunnyland Farms exceptional is its heritage and its people.
Sunnyland Farms specializes in pecans and other nuts, candies and confections. We set in the middle of over 1,700 acres of pecan trees so you know our pecans are the freshest around. Additionally, we have our own commercial shelling plant, roasting facility, kitchen, warehouses, packing rooms and shipping floors. We control every part of the process to ensure our quality standards are met.
Just as we’re providing only the best quality, we want to ensure we provide our customers with the best service possible. Our customer service reps (CSRs) go through an intensive training process and are focused to make sure our phone experience is second to none. We’re constantly upgrading and updating our website as well to provide the most seamless experience possible. Have an idea, please don’t hesitate to let us know and if we hear it enough, we’ll make it happen. In fact, some of our best ideas come from our customers.
At Sunnyland, we know mail-order food!
Sunnyland Farms is one of the most experienced companies around and we guarantee that our quality is second to none.
Whether looking for high-quality food products for yourself or as a corporate gift, holiday gift or Mother’s Day gift, rest assured that Sunnyland Farms provides the best mail-order pecans and fine foods you can order. The best thing about ordering from Sunnyland is that we only use the best ingredients so you can be sure you’re buying the highest quality food available anywhere.
We have many of the most loved and popular mail-order food types:
- Mail Order Pies – Sunnyland’s famous Georgia Grove Pecan Pie
- Mail Order Fruit - Our always-in-season dried fruit is unparalleled quality, flavor, and freshness
- Best Mail Order Cakes - Our Rum Crunch Cake and Limoncello Pound Cake are popular favorites
- Mail Order Desserts - We have plenty of decadent goodies for all tastes, from Baked Goods to Candied Pecans to Chocolates to Gourmet Candies
- Mail Order Gourmet Nuts - From our signature Georgia Pecans to Cashews, Pistachios, Almonds, and more
- Gourmet Mail Order Fruit Cake - We have many different kinds for the Fruit Cake Lovers out there: Light, Dark, and Gluten Free
- Mail Order Healthy Snacks -Sunnyland's raw, unsalted nuts and pecans are the healthiest and most flavorful out here (more on nuts and pecan nutrition here)
- Best Mail Order Snacks - Our mixed nuts are the best and freshest you'll find anywhere. Warning - they're addictive!
We’d love the opportunity to help you with your needs in the future and welcome you to the Sunnyland Family. Shop our fresh, gourmet nuts and foods today.
Here at Sunnyland Farms in Albany, Georgia, winter in the pecan orchard is definitely less hectic than the busy fall harvest season, but there are definitely still things happening.
After everyone takes some much-needed R&R during the holidays post-harvest we come back refreshed and ready to take a fresh look at the orchard and ways to improve production. That can be:
- Improving irrigation methods
- Looking at new tree varietals to plant
- Or analyzing older trees’ production, among many other things
Pecan Farm Recovery and Growth, Post Hurricane
Unfortunately, during the fall of 2018 Hurricane Michael passed through Albany, GA as a Category 3 hurricane despite the fact the city sits approximately 160 miles inland from where it made landfall in Mexico Beach, Florida. The pecan industry in South Georgia had major tree loss with our farm losing over 4,100 pecan trees alone making replanting this winter a no-brainer.
We spent the first part of January taking an inventory of all the trees in the orchard, categorizing them by variety and age. We also took a look at where we have “Skips,” or holes in the tree rows where a tree is missing where we could plant a new one. After analyzing the grove, we knew where to plant our new trees. (A quick aside in case you’re interested in planting your own pecan tree; be sure to find a space with good drainage that has access to lots water and sunlight. Ok, back to the blog).
We contracted for 4,000 new trees in January of 2019 to be ready in January 2020. This gave the nursery time to graft the new trees and us time to clean up from the hurricane.
How to Successfully Plant Pecan Trees in Georgia
We decided to try some newer varietals this year buying 2,500 Whiddons and 1,500 Ellis pecan trees. These newer tree cultivars produce large, light-colored pecans and are more resistant to scab, a fungus that grows easily in the hot, humid suppers of South Georgia. Taking possession of our first delivery of Whiddons we began the planting process. Here is how we plant our pecan trees:
1. The first step is to dig the hole for the tree. While one could definitely do this using a shovel its far more expedient to do it using a commercial hole Digger on the back of a utility tractor. This Digger goes out early and digs the holes for trees to be planted that day or week.
2. Once the hole is dug then it is time to plant the young pecan tree. The trees are inserted with the taproot ideally hitting the bottom of the hole and then the hole is filled with soil. We like to leave the bulb of the tree’s root ball an inch or so out of the ground as the first rain or two after planting will cause the soil to compact and thus make the root ball completely flush with the ground.
3. Finally, a protective plastic cover is put around the tree to keep it safe from animals grazing on it.
A pretty simple task, but if not done correctly the tree can die, grow at a poor angle, or not produce pecans effectively. Nurturing the young tree with plenty of water, sunlight and fertilizer are essential as well.
A pecan crop develops between 4-10 years after a pecan tree is planted, depending on the varietal planted, soil, and water conditions. Learn more interesting pecan tree facts here, and we invite you to browse our selection of delicious, fresh pecans online today.
Allow me if you will to make a bold statement.
I’ve never met a pecan pie I didn’t like.
Sure, I’ve eaten different kinds of pecan pie -- from those that used pecan halves instead of pecan pieces to those that had a gooey center rather than a firm one. But one thing is for certain:
To enjoy a good piece of pecan pie you need three things: a piece of pecan pie (obviously), a plate and a fork.
Before I go on, I should probably introduce myself. I’m Regan Jones -- a self-proclaimed food lover by birth but also a registered dietitian nutritionist & personal trainer by education. You may read those credentials and think, “Wait. What? She’s a dietitian and personal trainer and she eats pecan pie?”
You bet I do.
And based on what I shared above, you can assume I’ve eaten plenty of it over my lifetime. If I may, allow me to make another bold statement:
Dietitians do dessert. Period.
We know the special place that delicious dishes and fond food memories play in having a healthy outlook on how all foods fit into a healthy diet. But what my credentials and history of pie eating don’t tell you is that I actually prefer a very simple twist on traditional pecan pie. I prefer Pecan Pie Bars.
Pecan Pie Bars: A Simple Twist on a Southern Classic
But it wasn’t always this way.
Growing up, my family’s holiday table was routinely filled with copious amounts of what I would now consider “fork desserts.” You know the ones -- cakes, pies, maybe a trifle here and there… basically anything that needed to be cut/sliced/scooped and served on a plate with a strong cup of coffee (to be sipped while the adults discussed how good the meal was and how delicious the desserts were)… and of course, a fork. (There might also be a discussion of college football depending on the mood of the room, but down South some things are better left unsaid, depending on the year. But I digress.)
As I got older, though, I came to what we’ll call a pie eating “fork in the road,” so to speak. I met the man who is now my husband and found that his family virtually never served a dessert that needed a fork. It was cookies and bars and the like -- handheld treats if you will -- all the way.
At first, I thought it odd, to be honest. There was no lingering; no sitting around the table; no moment of pushing past fullness to enjoy that last forkful of leisurely dessert. They were up and away and grabbing goodies on the way to the backyard for a game of touch football. And as much as the health professional in me loved the idea of the activity and movement, I inwardly mourned the tradition of sitting down to a plateful of holiday yumminess and especially missed the pecan pie.
So as a young bride, when it came my time to contribute to the holiday festivities I was initially at a loss for how to serve up something that felt worthy of the holidays but kept the pick-up-and-eat preference of my new family’s affinity for handheld desserts.
Enter Pecan Pie Bars.
If you’ve never had a Pecan Pie Bar, trust me. You’re in for a treat! Imagine if you will, taking everything that’s delicious about pecan pie -- like the uniquely rich and earthy goodness of the pecan and the sweet, thick syrupy filling that encompasses it -- and placing all of that on top of a rich, shortbread crust that’s sturdy enough to grab and go. It truly is that sweet spot on the dessert tray that keeps you coming back for just one more.
And while you can find Pecan Pie Bar recipes all over the Web, none are quite as perfect as this one. Many other recipes call for corn syrup, but I find I seldom have it on hand. Honey on the other hand is always in favor at my house and goes the extra mile in this recipe by yielding a slightly floral sweetness that pairs beautifully with straight from the orchard, high-quality Sunnyland Pecans.
It may go without saying, but let me say it anyway -- the pecans you use matter a great deal in ensuring the absolute best tasting Pecan Pie Bar. Using Sunnyland’s farmer picked and packed pecans yields the absolute best tasting bar time after time and for good reason. Sunnyland -- unlike many other pecan brands you might find on store shelves -- is unique in that they are both a farm AND a manufacturer. This means that every product is managed on-site with close attention to detail. Plus, their pecans are straight from Albany, Georgia -- otherwise known as the pecan capital of the world.
High-quality pecans, equal the best tasting Pecan Pie Bars. No forks required.
Pecan Pie Bars Recipe (no corn syrup):
Makes: 16 bars
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 stick) butter, melted
- Pinch of salt
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 cups Sunnyland Farms small pecan pieces
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 13- x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
- Whisk together flour and granulated sugar. Stir in melted butter; blend until mixture resembles coarse meal. Pat evenly into bottom of prepared pan.
- Bake crust for 15 minutes or just until edges begin to lightly brown. Let cool.
- Meanwhile, crack eggs in a medium-size bowl and beat well with a fork or whisk. Set aside.
- Combine brown sugar, honey, butter and cream in a medium-size saucepan. Bring just to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn off heat. Gradually stream 1/2 cup hot sugar mixture into eggs, whisking constantly. Pour egg mixture back into pan with remaining sugar mixture, stirring constantly until smooth. Stir in Sunnyland Farms small pecan pieces, vanilla and salt. Pour over crust.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Cool completely before cutting into squares.
For many businesses and organizations, corporate gifting is an important part of cultivating and growing business relationships. According to Forbes, 57% of respondents in a recent business gifts satisfaction survey stated that “gifts can impact their opinion of a business partner both positively and negatively.” Over 80% of C-suite executives believe that business gifts generate measurable positive ROI in addition to intangible benefits.
There are many fantastic benefits of sending a great gift for business purposes:
- Increased brand awareness
- Strengthened partnerships and business relationships
- Staying top of mind with prospects and leads
Unfortunately, there is no shortage of generic, inappropriate, or forgettable gifts on the market. You may be too busy to shop properly, or you may not know enough about the person’s personal interests.
Corporate gifting can be tricky, for these and many other reasons:
- Gifts can add to clutter if they’re not enjoyed. And in the days of Marie Kondo and minimalism, you want to give business gifts that the recipient will genuinely appreciate
- People nowadays are very health conscious (for better or worse!) and not everyone enjoys sweets or sugary treats
- Safe” gifts can feel generic and boring, and you want to spice things up
- Gift cards don’t always feel personal or memorable
- Wine or alcohol which may be offensive or may be lost on the person who doesn’t drink
- You want a gift that will ultimately benefit your business relationship and bring your business top of mind, but you don’t want your logo splashed everywhere. You need a happy medium.
Because corporate gifting can be so important, it often results in anxiety and frustration as you go through the research, selection, buying, and follow up process. Like many of our corporate clients, you may have the following wish list in mind:
- You want your gift to be useful and bring delight to the person who receives it
- You want to choose gifts that will be universally appealing
- You want a present that brings delight to the person who receives it
- Quality and presentation matter
- Shipping should be free, fast and reliable
- You’re just plain busy and need to cross gifts off your to-do list
Introducing Sunnyland Farms Corporate and Business Gift Guide
Business gifts are memorable when they’re personal, customized with a personal message, and the details are paid attention to. You want to give a gift that’s a reflection of your sincere appreciation, gratitude, or joy to have these people in your professional world. Everyone likes to know someone took the time out of the day to send a gesture of thanks, appreciation, and goodwill.
Sunnyland Farms is your corporate gift partner for:
- Employees, associates, and colleagues
- Vendors, partners, investors, and referral partners
- Clients, prospects, leads, and potential customers
- Bosses, executives and higher ups
- General “Thank you” and “appreciation gifts
Our customers love our free shipping included in the cost, our customization and collaboration to make sure all the details are taken care of, and of course our high-quality nuts, pecans, chocolates, cakes and treats. Check out our latest video where we’ve highlighted some of our happy Sunnnyland corporate customers:
Gifts That Appeal to Everyone On Your List
Corporate gift-giving does not have to be associated with buying boring, generic gifts (although most one-size-fits-all products you find online are usually a little less than exciting).
But not at Sunnyland!
Due to the breadth of our gourmet options, our gifts are perfect for those who fit all the below criteria:
- love sweets
- are health-conscious
- love to bake
- love to eat
- love to host parties and soirees
- are into food trends and social movements, like farm-to-table, and US-made products
The Pitfalls of Buying Online (Not at Sunnyland!)
Shopping online for gifts can be a challenge. You’re worried that what the product looks like in real life will be a big disappointment compared with how it’s presented online.
At Sunnyland Farms, our gifts look better IRL (in real life) than they do online. This is because most of the time when you buy business gifts online, you’re often going through a third party. At Sunnyland farms, you’re buying direct. We are unique in that we have our farm, manufacturing area, and online business all on-site. In fact, if you’re ever driving through Albany, Georgia (the pecan capital of the world), stop by our farm and visit our chocolate shop.
Business Gifts You Can Feel Good About
The peace of mind knowing you’re buying a great gift for someone else is priceless. Our products come directly from our farm, not from a middle man. When you buy your corporate gifts from Sunnyland Farms, you can feel good knowing your purchase and gift is contributing to many important social movements:
- family-owned business
- U.S-made products
And don’t forget, if you need year-round business gifts, we offer those as well:
- For the office
- Employee recognition
- Employee anniversaries
- Client thank you and appreciation gifts
- Incentive and premium gifts
- Sales and milestone rewards
- Job well-done gifts
Shop With Us Today
If you’re looking for something unique and stress-free, we hope you’ll consider us at Sunnyland Farms. Remember, shipping is free, and our customer service is unbeatable. Shop today, reach out or call us today.
Last month we took our Sunnyland Farms team to the Artisan Bakery Expo in Las Vegas. ( We partner with so many wonderful bakeries, restaurants and other food service operators, joining a food show of this caliber seemed like a no brainer. Introducing our farm fresh wholesale pecans to hundreds of quality vendors was a great opportunity and we enjoyed meeting so many people in the industry. Here is a picture from our booth:)
While there were many bakers and chefs at the show, one in particular really stood out. Her name is Chef Stephani Petersen with Panhandle Milling. Her beautiful loaves of bread and baguettes were actually painted with edible food paint or “infused edible embellishments,” making each a beautiful decorative piece of art. So unique and fun! We were delighted to connect with her and happily report she is now a Sunnyland customer. Check out her blog and beautiful creations:
One thing is for sure, the “ARTISAN” craze isn’t going anywhere! We are pleased our “Only the Best” Pecans have and always will be considered artisan. Webster defines artisan as “a person or company that produces something (such as cheese or wine) in limited quantities often using traditional methods.” Sounds like Sunnyland pecans to us! For more information on ordering wholesale pecan quantities please email us at
If you are looking for a recipe that will wow your sweetie with homemade goodness, this recipe for Red Velvet Cinnamon rolls is just the ticket. Yes, they take a bit of time but the payoff is well worth the wait. Filled with small pecan pieces, topped with cream cheese frosting, and finished with large Sunnyland pecan halves, this is a recipe the whole household can get behind.
Two really important things when trying this recipe, the dough is going to take time to rise and the quality of your rolls will benefit greatly by the extra time. If the yeast doesn’t have time to rise, your rolls will be dense. Here is a picture of the dough once brought together, should be sticky when kneaded. Cover and let rise overnight preferably.
Once the dough has hopefully double, roll out into a rectangle, fill with brown sugar pecan filling, roll, cut and place in round cake pan next to one another. Let the rolls rest for another hour, then bake at 350 degrees for 20-23 minutes. Finish with cream cheese frosting and Sunnyland Large Pecan Pieces and you have a Valentine’s treat that is sure to please the entire family. Recipe Link:
Fruitcake... Yes it IS GOOD! Especially Sunnyland's if we do say so. If you don't believe us, just read our customer reviews. We offer two kinds of the famous, holiday cake: dark and light. The Food Network Magazine actually wrote an article on this traditional holiday favorite which, among others, featured OUR lighter Southern Style Fruitcake which uses fresh orange juice and lots of our farm fresh pecans. This lighter version tastes much brighter and less dense, although there's just something special about the dark fruitcake as well. Maybe it is all the history that makes us a little nostalgic regarding our Dark Fruitcake. Regardless of your preference, Sunnyland has you covered this Holiday Season in the fruitcake department.
The fruitcake itself dates back to ancient Rome, making it over two thousand years old and one of the oldest cake recipes known. The sugar-soaked fruit (often seeped in sweet alcohol) gave the cake an extended shelf-life which was crucial during times without refrigeration. Who knew all of that history existed in one richly spiced cake? The combination of tradition, culture, history and taste makes the fruitcake not just a cake, but a glimpse into the past.
Learning that made us want to know more about other fruitcakes. The Germans make a version called Stollen which is dusted on the top with a copious amount of powdered sugar. Panettone is an Italian version with a consistency more like a traditional bread. The Caribbean version is probably the cheeriest of them all, not just because of its tropical taste, but also because it is soaked in rum for MONTHS prior to baking. Now that's one happy cake!
Love it or hate it, the fruitcake is here to stay. Cheers to one of the oldest cakes around (especially if you're enjoying the Caribbean fruitcake!) Happy Holidays from our Sunnyland Farms family to yours!
Hurricane Michael's Effect on Sunnyland Farms:
Hurricane Michael was devastating to our hometown of Albany, GA and very few were spared damage. At Sunnyland Farms our plant took major damage in several places. We had significant roof damage to both our cleaning plant and shelling plant. Our cold storage facility lost a large section of roofing as well and required us to move all of our product to off-site storage. Thankfully the vast majority of product was saved.
While we are still assessing the damage to our farm we estimate tree loss between 20% - 30% which represents something around 7,000 trees, an impact that will be felt for the next couple of decades. While this loss is painful we are thankful that we still have many trees standing and are able to harvest nuts this year and for years to come as we re-plant for those that were lost. (We recently wrote more about our beautiful pecan trees - check it out!)
We'd also especially like to thank our business partners who helped us salvage our product. Thanks to Southern Ag Carriers. for providing countless refrigerated trailers to empty our big freezer when we lost power. Thanks to Lineage Logistics for taking our product in its freezers. Thanks to Southern Point Staffing for your help in cleanup and bringing us much needed food and water as we cleaned for the past four days. And thanks to LRA Constructors, Inc. for getting our freezer roof repaired and running.
We are truly thankful to be coming out of the devastation and while the full recovery will be long we will be fully operational and shipping in the next two days. We cannot wait to get back to providing "Only the Best" Pecans, Gifts and other Goodies to you, our wonderful customers. Thanks to all of our customers for your calls, emails and messages regarding our status during Hurricane Michael. We truly love and appreciate each and every one of you.
All the Best,
The Sunnyland Farms Family
How to Select the Best Pecans:
The best raw pecans are found when all parts of the process - from harvesting to shipping - are done on site, where everything is managed top down. Pecans are sold at many different price points, but often, the price reflects the quality. With nuts, you'll get exactly what you pay for. Also, the best Georgia pecan growers go through a certification process every year.
As we gear up for pecan harvest in the next few weeks, one of the most exciting things is the upcoming crop of fresh pecans right from the tree. One might think that all pecans in the Fall season are fresh but that is definitely not the case. Many pecans you buy are from at least the previous crop year, and some could even be older than that. We recently wrote about the harvest process and our beautiful pecan trees.
Picking out fresh pecans can often be confusing. There are hundreds of different varieties and many different sizes. There is a substantial difference in flavor in a fresh, raw pecan, versus one that came from a can of nuts you get at the store. When looking for the freshest pecans you should look for a light, bright color. If the color is amber or a dark brown then either the pecan is old or it has not been stored correctly and could be rancid. (Check out our top pecan nutrition facts and faqs!)
Why Georgia Pecans?
Georgia is the leading pecan-producing state in the U.S. In particular, Albany, GA is known as the "pecan capital of the world" due to the number of pecan trees (more than 600,000). Beyond that, Georgia is the home of the National Nut Growers Association, which was established in Albany in 1901. Georgia pecans are the best you'll find anywhere.
How to Store Raw Pecans:
Pecans have a higher oil content than most other nuts which, while making their flavor profile delicious, makes their shelf life at room temperature limited. When at all possible, pecans should be stored in a cool environment when using immediately and stored in a freezer if not used immediately.
Retail stores often make the error of storing their fresh pecans at room temperature. While the pecans may start "fresh" they often degrade after being stored incorrectly. It is for this reason that many people have never really tasted a truly fresh pecan! When you buy pecans off the grocery store shelf, you don't know how long they have sat there. Freshness is a huge component to keeping your pecans tasting their best. To learn more about how to store nuts, pecans, and dried fruit, check out our storage guide instructions here.
Why Buy Pecans From Sunnyland Farms:
Here at Sunnyland Farms in Albany, Ga, we are uniquely focused on producing only the highest quality pecan halves and pecan pieces. Not only do we guarantee that all of our raw pecans are "new crop pecans" from the latest crop year, but we also make sure that they are stored correctly until they ship to you. Unlike many other websites that sell pecans online, we are a farm, manufacturer, toaster and packer: we manage the whole process. That means taking care of our trees, harvesting, cleaning, shelling, and grading, grading, grading. Quality is our #1 concern.
That's the Sunnyland difference, and it's a difference that you can definitely taste and see. So, if you're a pecan lover like we are then please take a look at all of our raw pecans and be rest assured that they will be the best you have ever tasted!
Spring is officially here and I couldn’t be happier! Warmer weather normally means I get to pull out my favorite flavor profiles. Think lemons, basil and edible florals…I could go on but I am most pleased with LEMONS and all things citrus. You could say I am OBSESSED and not just with citrusy desserts: grilled steak with bright, zesty Chimichurri sauce or Fish En Pappioltte (in parchment) with lemon wheels and garden-fresh Tarragon…I digress. Now turning to these delightful little Lemon Almond Shortbread cookies. So easy and delicious. The flaky, buttery crust paired with the bright zest of the lemon and crunch of the almond leaves you with the perfect little Spring cookie. Voila!
- 2 sticks salted butter
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 cups sifted flour
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Zest of two lemons
- 1/2 Cup Sunnyland Farms Sliced Almonds
- Mix all ingredients with mixer or by hand, refrigerate at least one hour. Roll in small balls, press with back of measuring cup and top with slivered almonds. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes/slightly golden.
- Makes about a dozen medium sized cookies
Lemon Almond Shortbread
Holiday Side Dishes So Delicious They Just Might Upstage Your Turkey
Everyone is always looking for those perfect holiday side dishes to present next to your turkey. Well we have three dishes made with our Sunnyland products that are so good they just might become the star of the show!
Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Cinnamon Butternut Squash, Pecans, and Raisins
- 3 cups Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, yellow leaves removed
- Salt, to taste
- 1 and ½ pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed into 1-inch cubes (Yields about 4 cups of uncooked cubed butternut squash)
- 5 tablespoons Sunnyland Pecan oil
- 5 tablespoons Sunnyland Gallberry Honey
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups Sunnyland pecan halves
- 1 cup Sunnyland Flame Raisins
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly grease the foil-lined baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of pecan oil.
- Make sure Brussels sprouts have trimmed ends and yellow leaves are removed. Then, slice all Brussels sprouts in half. In a medium bowl, combine halved Brussels sprouts, 2 tablespoons of pecan oil, salt (to taste), and toss to combine. Place onto a foil-lined baking sheet, cut side down, and roast in the oven at 400 F for about 20-25 minutes. During the last 5-10 minutes of roasting, turn them over for even browning, the cut sides should be nicely and partially charred but not blackened.
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly grease the foil-lined baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of pecan oil.
- In a medium bowl, combine cubed butternut squash (peeled and seeded),1 tablespoon of pecan oil, honey, and cinnamon, and toss to mix.
- Place butternut squash in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once half-way through baking, until softened.
- _Note:_You can roast both Brussels sprouts and butternut squash on 2 separate baking sheets at the same time, on the same rack in the oven – that’s what I did.
- In a large bowl, combine roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted butternut squash, pecans, and raisins, and mix to combine. (OPTIONAL): For more sweetness, add 2 or 4 tablespoons of honey, if desired – do not add all honey at once, start with 2 tablespoons, then add more, if desired, and toss with the salad ingredients to combine.
Holiday Carrot Salad
- 24oz. Fresh Baby Rainbow Carrots
- 2/3 cup Sunnyland Dried Apricots, coarsely chopped
- 4 Limes, for Zest/Juice
- 4tbsp Sunnyland Pecan Oil
- 4tbsp Sunnyland Gallberry Honey
- 1/2 tsp Ground Mustard
- 1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 cup Presliced Green Onions
- Bring 4 cups water to a boil for cooking carrots. Chop apricots. Grate/zest lime peel (1tsp). Squeeze limes for juice (1/4 cup).
- Place carrots in boiling water and cover; cook 6 minutes. Meanwhile, combine in medium saucepan on medium high: zest, lime juice, oil, honey, red pepper, mustard, and salt. Simmer 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens slightly.
- Drain carrots thoroughly. Stir carrots apricots and onions into dressing. Cook and stir 2-3 minutes until evenly coated.
- Salad may be served warm, at room temperature, or chilled.
LOW-CARB PECAN STUFFING
- 2 tablespoon Sunnyland Pecan Oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 3 ribs celery, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
- 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
- 8 oz Sunnyland pecans, whole or pieces
- 2 Tablespoons fresh sage, leaves stacked and sliced thinly
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Tablespoon parsley
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil.
- When oil is ready and has stopped bubbling, add yellow onion and celery.
- Cook onion and celery, stirring occasionally until the edges of onion begin to brown and onion is becoming translucent. Onions and celery should both be soft. Reduce heat to medium.
- Stir in thyme, rubbed sage, poultry seasoning and celery salt. Stir to combine.
- Add pecans and fresh sage. Stir and cook for about three minutes to soften the flavors of the sage and allow pecans to absorb the flavor of the herbs.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in parsley.
- Serve and Enjoy!
Here at Sunnyland Farms, we are smack dab in the middle of Harvest Season, the groves are busy with shakers, our shelling plant is humming with sounds of cracking pecans and our cleaning plant is busy sorting and sizing out “Only the Best” nuts for our catalog and corporate gifts. These beautiful pecan halves then go into our handcrafted treats and ever so popular nut-mixes. All brought to you since 1948 by the Willson family.
These gourmet gifts make the perfect office Holiday present for clients and associates alike. We streamline the corporate gifting process, making it easy and efficient for you to order and ship multiple gifts. Just think of us as your personal North Pole station-with shiny holiday gift packages arriving at your doorstep. We can include a Holiday greeting within each gift, or if you like, your company business card. Choose from our Toasted & Salted Pecan Halves, Mixed Nuts, Gourmet Chocolates, Handmade Candies and Cakes, or THE BEST timeless Pecan Pie you will ever taste. Or try a few of our new catalog items: Pecan Butter, Pumpkin Bread or our wholesome Chewy Granola. All wonderful items to treat those on your list.
The kitchen is summoning us back with its wafting smells, so we are off! Just remember, our customer service is here to help make your office Holiday gifting simple and impressive. Just check out what two of our corporate clients have to say about working with Sunnyland:
We look forward to serving you and your clients this Holiday Season. Please stop in and see us next time you are in the Southwest Georgia area. We might give you a lesson on how to properly crack a pecan, or even give our thoughts on the proper way to say it!
Halloween is just around the corner so it is time to get your sweet tooth ready. Here at Sunnyland, we cant wait! So we decided to share with you some easy Halloween treats that can be made with your favorite Sunnyland Farms products.
Here is everything that you will need.
First we made one of my year round personal favorites…Sunnyland Toffee sugar cookies. And it’s so simple! All you do is take your favorite cookie mix and add chopped up pieces of Sunnyland Toffee to the batter.
Then we gave them a little Halloween twist!!
With these we added a piece of our Sunnyland Toffee to the top and brought our spiders to life with candy eyes and chocolate frosting legs.
With our second batch we took our same batter and topped it with our Sunnyland Chocolate Covered Pecans. Then again, we brought our spiders to life with candy eyes and chocolate frosting.
A little spooky and a lot cute all at the same time!!
You can also make ghoulish Halloween bats with our Sunnyland dark chocolate clusters.
Just take our Sunnyland dark chocolate clusters and add chocolate cookie wings and spooky eyes with a dab of chocolate icing. Quick simple and perfect for those that go bump in the night.
Or if you want to go the lighter route this Halloween you can always make a beautiful fruit tray with some of our Sunnyland Dried Fruits.
Needless to say everyone here thoroughly enjoyed and we hope you do too!
As we begin a new harvest season I think it’s a great time to take a look back at the previous year and examine all that has occurred here at Sunnyland Farms. We had a great year and that would not be possible without our wonderful customers and friends, and for that I’d like to personally thank you. You keep us motivated to provide the best pecans, mixed nuts, dried fruits, cakes and candies we can and we are constantly trying to improve in order to exceed your expectations.
This past year was both challenging and rewarding for us at Sunnyland. Mother Nature provided significant challenges, with two tornadoes in Albany, GA in January that devastated large sections of our home town. Many of our employees had significant damage to their homes but thankfully we all came out of the storms safely.
More recently, Hurricane Irma swept through the state of Georgia, dealing a devastating blow to the pecan industry. Thankfully, Albany took a glancing blow compared to other parts of the state; and while we lost over 150 trees and a portion of our crop we are thankful. We recently wrote more about our pecan harvesting and our pecan trees - education is important! We still have nuts to harvest and are looking forward to great season. One positive that came from Irma is we were able to meet some of our wonderful customers who passed through Georgia while seeking refuge from the storm. It is always a pleasure to meet our customers and we would love to see you as well should you find yourself in southwest Georgia.
On a more upbeat note we’ve introduced our new gift boxes of which we are very proud. We think you’ll find the presentation outstanding and look forward to hearing your feedback. Additionally, we updated the look of our catalog and came up with some outstanding new products such as our Pecan Butter, which is delicious and packed with all the health benefits that our whole pecans and pecan pieces provide.
We’ve also made strides to lessen our carbon footprint. Our catalog was printed on recycled paper, saving over 4,000 trees, 500,000 gallons of water and emitting far less pollutions during production. We’ve removed some plastic from our packaging as well. And while we’re not as “green” as we’d like to be we’re making great strides as a company.
We hope you are off to a great harvest season and do hope that you’ll keep Sunnyland in mind for all of your holiday gifting and baking needs. If you are looking for something specifically designed for business clients and colleagues please look at our new Corporate Gifts page.
As always, we’d love to hear from you and appreciate your business. Thanks for making the previous year such a great one and cheers to a wonderful 2017 Harvest and Holiday season.
The Perfect Summer Side Dish
Rainbow carrot raisin pecan salad is the perfect summer side dish for you and your family. Its quick, delicious, and SO easy to prepare. It should only take about 20 minutes to whip up this tasty treat.
Here is everything that you will need:
1 bag of baby rainbow carrots (should grate down to about 4 cups)
1/4 cup of plain Greek yogurt
1 cup crushed pineapple
1/2 cup Sunnyland flame raisins
1/2 cup Sunnyland golden raisins
1/4 tsp salt
First we have to grate our carrots and set them to the side. If you are short on time you can always use pre-grated carrots from the grocery store.
Then take your Sunnyland toasted & salted pecan halves, give them a rough chop, and set them aside as well.
Next, Combine your cup of crushed pineapple and quarter cup of Greek yogurt. Stir thoroughly until smooth.
Once your juice is ready add all your shredded carrots, your chopped pecans, and your Sunnyland raisins to the bowl.
Toss all ingredients and add salt to taste. Serve up in the same bowl and enjoy!
- 1 bag of baby rainbow carrots (should grate down to about 4 cups)
- 1/4 cup of plain Greek yogurt
- 1 cup crushed pineapple
- 1 cup Sunnyland toasted & salted pecan halves
- 1/2 cup Sunnyland flame raisins
- 1/2 cup Sunnyland golden raisins
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Grate carrots and set aside
- Roughly chop pecan halves and set aside
- Combine pineapple and Greek yogurt and stir until smooth.
- Combine carrots, pecans, and raisins with pineapple mixture
- Toss all ingredients to combine and add salt to taste
- Refrigerate until needed
One of my favorite summer vegetables is squash!! We can’t get enough of it at my house. So, today I want to share with you one of my favorite ways to have squash using our Sunnyland Pecan Meal and Oil. I call it, Pan Seared Summer Squash. It is a super easy recipe and only has THREE ingredients!
All you will need for this delicious side is:
3 – 4 Yellow Squash
1 Cup Sunnyland Pecan Meal
1/4 Cup Sunnyland Pure 100% Pecan Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Slice squash roughly 1/8″ thick either with a mandolin or a paring knife. You can adjust the thickness based on how crispy you would like your squash to be. The thinner you slice them, the crispier they will get when cooking.
Once you have them sliced place them in a bowl filled with water in order to help them retain their moisture during cooking. This is important because we are keeping this dish healthier by not adding an egg wash!
Set your stove on Medium-High and add a very thin layer of the Pecan Oil to the pan. It will take just a few minutes for the oil to come to temperature.
While your Pecan Oil is heating, begin dredging the squash in the Pecan Meal. You will want to make sure to get a generous coating, pressing firmly to adhere the meal to the squash. Then, lightly salt and pepper squash on either side.
After you make sure your oil is hot enough, (I always drop a little extra pecan meal in the pan to make sure it pops and sizzles) it is time to place your squash in the pan!
Allow them to cook for 3 – 5 minutes on either side until golden brown.
And there you have it…Pan Seared Summer Squash! A scrumptious summer treat for you and your family. Quick, simple, and perfect for the whole family!
- 3 - 5 Yellow Squash
- 1 Cup of Sunnyland Pecan Meal
- 1/4 Cup of Sunnyland Pure 100% Pecan Oil
- Salt & Pepper to Taste
- Slice squash long ways in 1/8" slices
- Let sit in cold water in order to retain moisture
- Turn stove on medium-high heat and lightly coat pan with Pecan oil
- Dredge squash slices in pecan meal, coating them completely by pressing firmly
- Salt and pepper squash slices
- Place slices in pan and cook them for 3 - 5 minutes on both sides until golden brown.
- Serve and Enjoy!
Well it has been a while since we’ve posted an update and I can’t think of a better reason to get back to it than a visit to the James Beard House in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. And we will certainly get to that but I also want to let you know that going forward we are going to be making many more updates to the Pecan Post. We’ll of course keep you up to date with everything going on here at Sunnyland as well as taking an in depth look at some of our employees and their roles. Additionally, we’re going to take a look some industry news, spotlight some products and provide some new recipes. So more to come but for now, back to the James Beard House!
Each year the Georgia Department of Agriculture and its Georgia Grown marketing program puts the spotlight on some of the state’s most well-known agricultural products with an event at the James Beard House. This year Georgia Grown executive chef Holly Chute and a team of fantastic chefs from around the state of Georgia cooked amazing food for New York in an event that was unlike any I’ve ever attended.
The event started with a reception where diners could sample appetizers made with Georgia products and Georgia spirits. Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture, Gary Black, attended the event and was available for questions of which he fielded many. After the passed hors-d’oeurvres dinner followed paired with Georgia wines. Needless to say everything was delicious. The full menu is available here. I will say that I believe the highlight for me was the sweet-corn desert which featured a cake made of sweet-corn with a blueberry sorbet. I’ve never had anything like it and using corn in a cake is something I did not think would work but it totally did!
While the food was delicious there was one glaring omission; pecans! How could it be that the largest pecan producing state in the country did not have a single dish using our favorite nut? Luckily wife Staci, the foodie in our marriage, and I were able to meet the chefs at the event and discuss all things pecan with them. And I have made it my personal mission to ensure that pecans are on the 2018 menu.
Pecan omission aside, the event was truly a memorable one as well as an eye-opener for this pecan farmer and sheller. The state of Georgia has some truly talented chefs and when working with local produce and protein can come up with some unique cuisine.
James Beard House Images:
There’s just something about Spring that makes me nostalgic: lacey white frocks, pretty pastels, crisp white linen tablecloths, big platters of ice cold deviled eggs, freshly waxed lemon scented dining room tables with big pitchers of sticky sweet ice tea… Ahhh….welcome back Springtime, you darlin’ thing you!
No one, and I a mean no one, could gather a more rowdy bunch and feed them well than my Grandmother Sue Underwood. After church on Sunday she would have her crowd of five children, their children and spouses, as many second and third cousins as possible and probably a church laymen or two. (Children more often than not had to gladly grab a spot on the porch.) No matter how casual the event, you better believe the dining room table had a nice white tablecloth with tall ice tea glasses (you know the ones…bronze colored glass) and silverware, but no fuss of course! Just plain and respectable, thank you. I can just hear the laughter and chatter amongst that busy table, with the huge platters of down-home, no fuss homemade cooking. “What did the new preacher say, you hear? He’s just a divine blessing to us all and did you see that new cherub of a baby Mrs. Jones has?” And on and on…Here’s to us all slowing down during this bountiful season, over a fine springtime supper but of course!
I’ve been day dreaming about what my Grandma would have on her Easter menu were she still with us and let me tell you, I’ve never been so inspired. At the bottom of the blog is the full menu I came up with focusing on one star recipe I envision my grandmother loving; Grandma’s Peach Pecan Easter Ham. Say what!?? And let me tell you, this is that old school ham you remember from back in the day. Wonderful served warm on an Easter buffet or served cold during a picnic with old-fashioned yeast rolls. YUM! (and if you're looking to have something special on the Easter table this year, check out our Easter gifts, snacks, and chocolates).
Happy Spring Everyone! Remember, Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Lets’ Party!!!”
Grandma’s Peach Pecan Easter Ham:
1 large cooked ham
2 jars Sunnyland Peach Cobbler Jam
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder
Sunnyland Farms Dried Peaches and rosemary sprig for garnish
Preheat Oven to 325 degrees.
Bake ham for 30 minutes (covered).
Mix jam, dried mustard, butter and garlic powder together and bring to a low boil to create the glaze.
Cover ham with glaze after 30 minutes and then bake another 30 minutes covered.
Glaze again and bake uncovered another 15-20 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!
Grandma’s Easter Buffet
Mayhaw Jelly Cream Cheese Appetizer
Southern Style Deviled Eggs
Grandma’s Easter Peach Pecan Ham
Roasted Red Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole
Old Fashioned Yeast Rolls
Grammy’s Pineapple Cake
This blog is dedicated to my wonderful Aunt Carol, who passed away during the writing of this blog. Aunt Carol, I will always remember your loving kindness and beautiful laugh. You will be sorely missed.
My passion for all things culinary happened by accident, as do many good things. Working professionally in both the restaurant and catering industries gave me the background but I was the people person; customer relations was my forte. It wasn’t until I began cooking in my own kitchen, free to experiment, taste and create that I fell in love with the art of cooking. I think cooking is a lot like creating art, you can’t be afraid to fail and often will. However, the few successes that come along the way are oh so worth it. Plus you get to share these victories with your family and friends! On that note, here is a summer recipe I think you will love!
Bright, flavorful herbs and veggies are always just so delicious and within an arm’s reach this time of year. Pulling together easy, healthy foods that actually taste good always seems so much easier in July and August. Lemony fresh basil, crunchy cucumbers, Georgia peaches that taste like honey and best of all, those heavenly, candy-like tomatoes!
A few nights ago I wanted to make a nice side dish to go with grilled hamburgers and this Mandarin Pecan Slaw was the perfect accompaniment. Nice and bright with the addition of garden fresh basil and mandarin oranges makes this side a perfect summer dish to add to your repertoire. I think I’ve found a new staple summer recipe!
Crunchy Mandarin Pecan Slaw
1 pre-packaged cabbage slaw mix (dry)
1 small can mandarin orange slices (drained)
1 & 1/4 cup Sunnyland Farms Large Pecan Pieces
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1 6oz container Feta Cheese
1 small diced Vidalia onion
1/2 cup raspberry vinaigrette (good store bought/pecan raspberry is even better)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 & 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
*Garnish with whole Sunnyland Farms Junior Pecan Halves, mandarin orange slices and whole large leaf basil springs.
Mix together in bowl one hour before serving (Serves 4-6).
Food quote of the day:
“If most of us valued food & cheer & song above hoarded gold it would be a merrier world.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien
We are thrilled to announce that Lucy Filler of Sacramento, California is the winner of our YETI cooler filled with Sunnyland treats!
When learning that she won she said this was a really nice EARLY 91st birthday surprise. We are happy to be part of her celebration. CONGRATULATIONS from all your friends at Sunnyland Farms!!
Be sure to check in on the blog and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sunnylandfarms for future exciting promotions!
I recently traveled to China with US Pecans, an industry effort to market pecans grown in the United States. The trip was broken into two parts, the SIAL Food Show in Shanghai followed by a visit to several pecan roasters in Lin’an in Zhejiang province. The experience was memorable both professionally as well as personally in a number of ways and I thought it would be great to share the highlights.
Our group arrived in Shanghai a day before the show to make sure the booth was set up to our liking. The booth included two chefs making amazing dishes out of pecans such as pecan-cranberry breakfast bars, pecan flavored smoothies and chicken wraps featuring apples and pecans. The show was from May 5-7 and our team spoke for three days to a number of people about pecans from both agricultural and consumer perspectives. If there was one thing I gleaned from the SIAL show it is that the Chinese really enjoy pecans in a variety of ways!
In the evenings we enjoyed traditional Chinese dinners and did a little sight-seeing. If pressed, I would have to say that my favorite part of Shanghai is The Bund, an area running along the Huangpu River filled with both historical architecture as well as modern skyscrapers. There really is something for everyone in this area! One of my favorite parts of traveling, even when on business, is taking in the local culture.
On the morning of May 8th we woke up early and caught a high-speed train from Shanghai to Hangzhou, a “smaller” city of around nine million people (as a point of reference Shanghai has a population of over 24 million residents). From there we took a two-hour car ride to Lin’an where the majority of Chinese pecan roasters reside. We spent that morning and afternoon visiting different pecan roasters and touring their plants. The “pecan-gwo” as it is called in China is primarily found served as a snack in-shell. Chinese pecan roasters slightly crack the pecans and then roast them to a warm temperature. After heating the nuts, they are then dipped into vats of flavoring such as vanilla or a salty brine before being packaged for sale.
Perhaps the highlight of the trip occurred on the evening of May 8th when we were invited to attend the wedding of one of the local pecan roasters. It was very interesting to see the events of a traditional Chinese wedding and the food at the reception was second to none! On May 9th we woke up and toured four more roasting facilities before taking the car back to Hangzhou for our last night in China. That afternoon we toured the Leifeng Pagoda in a park by West Lake in Hangzhou which was truly amazing!
May 10th was a long travel day to say the least. We left our hotel in Hangzhou at 7AM and I walked through my back door in Albany, GA USA at 11 PM; a total of 28 hours after adjusting for the time difference. I really enjoyed my time in China but it was great being home with my family again after being away for such a long trip.
Want to take just a minute to say Thank You to all the nice folks who made our recent stay in New York so special. Alex and I represented Sunnyland at our first trip to the International Restaurant and Food Service Show.
We had a great time sharing our excellent Sunnyland Pecans with visitors to the show, many who were trying Pecans for the first time. An unexpected treat were the folks who stopped by the booth who already knew us. We enjoyed the opportunity to meet some of our customers in person and we always love to educate about all things pecans (nutrition, freshness, and other fun facts!)
We had great weather, great food and great hospitality. I suspect we will visit the Big Apple again…
How cool is this machine! This is a Hedger trimming the limbs and tops of some of the older, larger trees in the Willson Farming Co. orchard. The trees you see here were planted in 1984 and have grown virtually untamed since then. While they make for a beautiful canopy they also hog the natural sunlight that other trees need to grow and bear fruit.
“Hedging” has been used by pecan farmers in the western United States for some time and is gaining popularity in the east as well. We at Willson Farming and Sunnyland Farms are embracing this technique for the first time this year for a variety of reasons. Hedging is used to manage the size of the pecan trees which helps manage disease and pests while also increasing light to the orchard. All of these things lead to better growing conditions that improve both the quality of the pecans and the yield of the orchard. Plus, there is the added bonus of using a really cool machine with two saw blades swinging at the end of a rotating arm!
Finally a chance to pause for a moment and reflect on this past year. Many of you already know, but if you did not… The holiday season is the busiest time of the year for us; and, this year was no exception. For that we owe our sincere thanks and appreciation to each of you our valued friends/family/customers.
Throughout my career here at Sunnyland Farms, I have heard the story numerous times of Mr. Willson holding Mrs. Willson up so that she could squeeze one more package on the UPS trailer before the driver was allowed to pull off. As the Shipping Manager, I understand the significance of that moment. Personally, at the end of the day, there is/was no greater feeling than when you know you have done absolutely everything within your power to get every package on its way. It’s a great feeling when at the end of the day you know the job was well done.
I have a board that is positioned on the wall and it is the last thing that I see as I leave my office. On day five as the new Shipping Manager, I wrote “I Love Shipping!!!” One full year later as I reach to turn off the lights at the end of the day… with a SMILE, I read my board out loud and say “I Love Shipping!!!” Honestly, I love it more today and for that I have to say THANK YOU to each of you!!! You? Yes you… our wonderful Sunnyland friends/family/customers!!!
If you have a moment to spare, please share with us a memory or two of Sunnyland. You have already given us so many wonderful memories and we’re looking forward to many more. Again, thank you from all of us here at Sunnyland Farms and Willson Farming Company.
I had so much fun today sharing one of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes with viewers of our local affiliate, FOX 31. The recipe is simple, quick and delicious. It will be breakfast at our home on Thanksgiving morning. Watch the video and try the recipe; then, let us know what you think…
From all of us here at Sunnyland, have a safe, happy and blessed Thanksgiving.
Source: WFXL FOX 31
- 1 1/2 cups plain flour
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 heaping cup Sunnyland Large Pecan Pieces
- Combine flour and sugar in a large bowl.
- Add melted butter and beaten eggs.
- Stir until smooth.
- Add pecan pieces and mix well.
- Spray muffin tin with Baker's Joy or line with paper muffin cups.
- Fill 2/3 full.
- Bake at 350° 25-30 minutes.
- Remove from pan and cool on rack.
- Makes 9 jumbo muffins or 12 smaller muffins.
- Recipe Picture from Food.com
This past week my grandmother Jane Willson passed away. Our family as well as the Sunnyland Family was touched by the number of calls, emails and Facebook messages we received wishing us well and offering sympathy. That outpouring of love would have made my grandmother proud and it certainly reaffirmed what we already believed: that Sunnyland Farms’ relationship with its customers is a two-way street. For us there is no greater compliment and we look forward to continuing that legacy. We truly appreciate You the Customer and look forward to serving you for years to come.
My grandparents always considered Sunnyland Farms customers their friends which led to the creation of the Sunnyland Farms and Willson Family update sections in the annual catalog. In 1960 my grandfather, Harry Willson, wrote that my grandmother, Jane, was helping him again that year in the mail order after not being able to do so the prior year. Their first girl after having three boys had been born in late October, 1959. Many of Harry and Jane’s mail order friends wrote to congratulate them on their baby girl and to ask about the boys which led to Harry writing a few words about the family in the following year’s catalog. “The Willson Family Update” was born and later expanded to also include “The Sunnyland Farms” update.
These two pieces are now cornerstones of the annual catalog and provide us with a way of sharing a bit about ourselves with our customers. The continued and overwhelmingly positive feedback to these sections led us to think about how we could provide our friends and customers with more updates like these. After tossing around a few ideas we came up with what we think is the winner: dedicating a specific section of our website to such a cause. We are happy to announce the creation of the “Pecan Post” page to provide information on various happenings around Sunnyland Farms!
The new “Pecan Post” page will be a blog of sorts, with a variety of focuses, or perhaps no focus at all! The posts may range from an employee spotlight to a wonderful recipe we discovered. We may tell you about a new product we are crafting or what is occurring in the pecan industry as a whole. The great thing about creating a page such as this one is that the possibilities are endless. While the annual catalog updates will never be replaced we look forward to supplementing them with a web page where we can communicate to you year-round and in turn to where you can provide us with your comments and feedback. If there is something you really want to hear about, let us know and if we see enough similar requests we’ll be sure to post about it!