As we near the end of our 70th Holiday Season at Sunnyland Farms we would like to take a moment to thank all of our customers, old and new, for trusting us with their orders. This season has been both challenging and rewarding and we truly appreciate all of your patience as we recovered from Hurricane Michael, the most devastating storm to hit southwest Georgia in generations. We appreciated receiving your kind emails and hearing your words of encouragement.
Hurricane Michael damaged our plant severely on October 10, 2018. Our on-site cold storage was, and still is, completely incapacitated which complicated our shipping process. Our shelling plant was crippled early making it hard to shell pecans at the beginning of the season. Our orchards were ravaged with 15-25% of our trees being destroyed. Two months later we are still counting downed trees and do not have an exact assessment of the damage. Despite these challenges we were able to function and service our customers and for that we cannot be prouder of our employees.
Each Sunnyland employee gave everything he or she had. Eighty-hour weeks were routine in November and December for many but there were no complaints about the hours or the additional challenges. We are humbled each day to work alongside such passionate, dedicated people. This business does not function without every one of our employees and words cannot adequately express our thanks.
Sunnyland Farms was founded with one simple motto, "Only the Best." Our goal is to provide the highest quality in terms of products and service and we know in some regards this season we fell short and have already started remedying those problems. We must improve our phone systems to handle seasonal demand. We must refine our logistics to handle catastrophic events. We must enhance our IT to better our customer experience both online and on the phone. We are already taking steps to address these issues and others to make the Sunnyland experience truly top notch.
Despite all of the challenges we had major positives this season as well. Our newest Sampler products have been overwhelmingly successful. We thought we had a good product but did not anticipate such demand. Our Light Fruitcake was featured in Food Network Magazine's Holiday edition which proves that some fruitcakes, (ours!), are delicious. Our Rum Cakes continue to explode in growth and with rave reviews. We overhauled our website and added new payment methods like PayPal and Apple Pay.
Our 70th season has definitely been one for the ages. We are all looking forward to some rest, relaxation and time with family over the holidays. We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
The Sunnyland Farms Family
Fruitcake... Yes it IS GOOD! Especially Sunnyland's if we do say so. We offer two kinds of the famous, holiday cake: dark and light. The Food Network Magazine actually just 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. Pannetonne 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.
While pictures don't do it justice we wanted to share a few with all of you. 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
Selecting Fresh Pecans:
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.
Picking out fresh pecans can often be confusing. There are hundreds of different varietiesand many different sizes. 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.
Storing Fresh 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!
Sunnyland Farms Fresh Pecans:
Here at Sunnyland Farms 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.
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
Make you holiday shopping even easier with this incredible shopping guide for everyone on your list!
The holidays are just around the corner and everyone is wondering the same question…What do I get for the special people in my life?! From family and friends to co-workers and clients, we always want to show everyone how much they mean to us. Well I have good news! This year Sunnyland has made this task easy! We have a gift for everyone on your list and we have even created a holiday shopping guide to help you know what to get everyone on your list! So this year, why not make it a one stop shop?
For our Heavenly Mix we mix together Macadamia Nuts, Jumbo Cashews, Mammoth Pecan Halves, and Whole Almonds to make this, our most popular mix. You won’t find a tastier combination to please the man in your life. You could also check out our Royal Mix or our delectable Rum Crunch Cake.
Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate! Three favorite Milk Chocolate candies in our handsome Friendship Tin: 24 of our Pecan Caramel Clusters, 10 oz of Choco-Pecans, 16 pieces of buttery Almond Toffee. This Chocolate Carousel Tin is not one that your sweetie will want to share. And if the woman in your life is not a chocolate fan we also have our Toasted and Salted Mammoth Pecan Halves.
Junior Tins have always been our most popular gifts. Choose from 27 of your favorite Sunnyland products including 6 Not Salted choices. Select the perfect combinations for everyone on your list. You can also get most of your favorite Sunnyland products in our “Do – It – Yourself” bags. Make sure you get every co-worker exactly what they love.
Introduced last Fall the Baker’s Bundle gift basket has quickly become one of our most popular gifts. Each basket contains:
Mammoth Pecan Halves – 1 lb
Small Pecan Pieces – 1 lb
Natural Pecan Oil – 8.54 fl oz
Pure Gallberry Honey – 8 oz
Embroidered Kitchen Towel
You can’t go wrong with this gift that is sure to please your favorite cook, baker or candy maker.
For Teachers Gifts
Pecans, Other Nuts, Dried Fruits, Chocolates, Cakes and Candies in convenient poly bags. Create your own combinations. Our “Do – It – Yourself” bags are a wonderful way to make sure you get every teacher just the right gift. And of course, if you’re looking for something a little more festive you should try our Junior Tin collection.
Our Quartet has all four delicious Barks! Dark and Milk Chocolate blended with fresh Pecan Pieces; our rich White Bark with crunchy Almonds; and our very own Pistachio Bark – a creamy pistachio-flavored candy filled with crispy pistachio pieces. It’s the perfect gift to show your gratitude. We also have delicious Pumpkin Bread so that every hostess will be inviting you back every year.
Our Milk or Dark Chocolate Clusters or Pecan Pralines both come individually wrapped making them the perfect stocking stuffers!! Our clusters or “turtles” are crisp pecan pieces smothered with thick creamy caramel, and enrobed in our rich Dark or smooth Milk Chocolate. And our pecan Pralines are creamy rich and filled with pecans, about twice as many as most recipes call for.
So many tasty treats, you may have to add some people to list!
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. 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 seasonI 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 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!
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.
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!