b'No Longer Just a Holiday TreatSouth Georgia Pecan is Keeping Pace with Global DemandT he name is a tough nut to crack. Depending on where you live or regional influence, the pronunciation of Georgias official state nut may be open for debate. According to a National Pecan Shellers Association poll, 45% of Southerners and 70% of people living in the Northeast are on team pee-can, while the rest of Americans side with puh-kahn. I cant tell you why, but people were eating considerably more nuts during the pandemic.- JEFF WORNIt doesnt matter how you pronounce the buttery, flavorful nutWorldwide Popularitybecause pecans are big business in Georgia, accounting forThe only tree nut native to North American, pecan production about one-third of U.S. pecan production.is limited to 15 states and continues to gain international Currently ranked the No. 1 state for pecan production,popularity.Georgias average pecan harvest is about 88 million pounds According to the Pecan Report, from September 2020 to April enough to make 176 million pecan pies.2021, U.S. exporters shipped 86,939,574 pounds of pecans No longer just an end-of-the-year holiday dessert,worldwide, representing an increase of 13,336,633 pounds or improvements in storage life, including temperature and15.34% from the previous year. humidity control, have increased the popularity and availabilityWhile worldwide consumer demands were already soaring, of pecans throughout the year.during 2020, the sale of pecans and other nuts continued to Consumers are also grasping the significant health benefits ofescalate.pecans. According to the American Heart Association, pecansI cant tell you why, but people were eating considerably more are designated as heart-healthy. A single ounce (about 19nuts during the pandemic, says Jeff Worn, CEO and president halves) is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.of South Georgia Pecan. The biggest issue was keeping our Pecan production has steadily increased in the U.S., risingemployees working, and being responsible to keep them safe, from 2.2 million pounds in 1920 to current yields of 250 to 300while at the same time being able to fill orders. We didnt million pounds a year.close, and employees were working more hours than they traditionally did at that time of the year.28 SG MAGAZINE| WINTER 2022 BUSINESS + CULTURE29'