This year the SaddleBrooke Nature Club has been focusing on the products of Arizona. In April our guest speaker’s expertise was pecans.
Rich Walden is a third generation farmer from the Santa Cruz Valley south of Tucson. He is the Farm Manager for the Santa Cruz Valley Pecan Farm and is active in Arizona and national pecan growers associations.
Using slides to illustrate his talk, Rich discussed his many responsibilities at the farm including water supply, fertilization, disease issues, pest issues, harvesting, pruning and composting as well as the organic production of pecans.
The history of the Green Valley Pecan Company is fascinating. Once owned by various people such as Dutch Queen Wilhelmina, Joseph Kennedy and J.P. Morgan, the land was initially intended for rubber tree production. When that need diminished many other crops were tried including cotton and alfalfa. Rich’s grandfather started pecan production with many varieties of pecans that were eventually reduced to just two varieties which self-pollinate in the wind.
At the farm a nut is planted and kept in a nursery for three years.
After planting it can take from five to seven years before it really begins significant production. At 10 to 12 years the tree begins maximum production. They are huge hardwood trees the farm prunes to 44 feet.
Green Valley is ideal for its climate, high quality water and soil.
There are many visitor opportunities at the Green Valley Pecan Company. The store is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Sahuarita Pecan Festival will take place November 14 this year. Pecan wood for fireplaces goes on sale Labor Day weekend. For more information or to order online, go to greenvalleypecan.com.
SaddleBrooke Nature Club’s next meeting will be May 11 at 4:00 p.m. in the Coyote Room downstairs at the HOA1 Clubhouse. The speaker will be Shawna Loper who will discuss cotton and alfalfa growing in Arizona.
SaddleBrooke Nature Club has ongoing field trips for members.
The group will be visiting the Green Valley Pecan Company in April.
A trip in conjunction with the Rhodes Scholar program will be made to a Hopi Reservation in October.
For further information check the website www.SaddleBrookeNatureClub.com