You could say we have a love affair with pecans. And here’s why: they have a TON of antioxidants and healthy oils, plus our co-founder and chief innovation officer Brooks Thostenson is in love with their taste. And how could he not be. With a subtle but buttery taste, they stand out as one of the planet’s tastiest nuts.
"I've always loved pecans, and I keep coming back to them time and again because they're so damn tasty, and really good for you," Brooks says.
Interestingly, the state of New Mexico (where our company is based) is forecasted to be the largest producer of pecans in 2019. The U.S. Agriculture Department is predicting that we’ll pull in a record high 97 million pounds this year, or 20 million more pounds than Georgia, which has historically been the country’s largest pecan source.
We’re always excited to source ingredients locally and have long worked with New Aces Pecan out of Las Cruces, NM, which shells and distributes pecans from many of the local farmers. Their sales director, Lucas Schmidt, says New Mexico was ripe to be a leader in the pecan business for several reasons. “New Mexico did it right in terms of technology, timing, and climate,” he says.
More specifically, he says New Mexico has soil that pecan trees love and the arid weather cuts down on diseases that plague trees in other states. New Mexico was also one of the last states to plant industrial pecan crops back in the 60s and 70s. As a result, the state was able to plant the best and most proven trees stock as well as set the farms up to use the best and most modern farming techniques.
“Being late to the party benefitted New Mexico in a big way,” Lucas says.
An ingredient with history
Pecans also have a great story. They’re the only tree nut native to North America and the word “pecan” is derived from the Algonquin tribe’s word “pacane,” which referred to nuts that required a stone to crack. For many native peoples, pecans were an important food source throughout the year and were even used as currency
Nowadays countries such as South Africa and Australia produce pecans, but here at Taos Bakes we’ll always be partial to the pecans grown in our backyard.
Watch out for more new flavors that feature pecans down the road!