Sweet Pecan Summer - Hallmark Movie Review & Analysis from The Pecan Experts
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?