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160 Warner Robins Highway
Hawkinsville, GA, 31036
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Sausage Pecan Dressing

David Johnson

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In Georgia, we call it dressing

though it’s known everywhere as the uncontested star of Thanksgiving

Dressing is the best part of Thanksgiving; why not double down and throw in some pecans? For Thanksgiving and Christmas, we make two dressings: our traditional, familiar, delicious white-bread-and-cornbread dressing, and this, our dressier dressing. It’s gussied up with sausage, pecans, and heaps of fresh herbs. This is a recipe that’s easily customized: it’s been built on and altered for a few years now, and will probably be edited by the time this is posted. Enjoy this iteration!

  • 1 box of Jiffy cornbread mix

  • 3 eggs

  • 1/3 cup milk

  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter

  • 1/2 lb loaf of good quality day old bread, broken into 1 inch cubes

  • 1 lb breakfast sausage

  • 2 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped celery

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 3 cups chicken broth

  • 2 cups pecans

  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley

  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage

  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary

  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

1) Prepare and bake Jiffy cornbread mix according to package instructions. Reduce heat to 250 degrees. Break up cornbread with spoon into small pieces, and transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Place white bread cubes on other baking sheet. Bake until dry, about one hour.

2) Meanwhile, cook sausage in large skillet over medium high heat until browned. Drain and transfer to very large mixing bowl.

3) In same skillet, heat 3/4 cups of butter. Cook chopped onions and celery until soft and translucent. Transfer to bowl with sausage.

4) Return skillet to medium high heat. Add 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan. Add 2 cups of pecans, stir for about two minutes, until toasted. Add to bowl with sausage.

5) Add prepared bread to mixing bowl. Gently fold in 1 1/2 cups of broth, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Let cool.

6) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x13 baking dish. Whisk 1 1/2 cups of broth and 2 eggs in small bowl. Fold gently into cornbread mixture, without mashing bread. Transfer to prepared baking dish, and bake covered with foil for 40 minutes. Remove cover and bake additional 40 minutes.

Harvesting 101

David Johnson

The question we get most this time of year is “how do you harvest pecans?” The short answer is that we shake trees and pick up nuts. The long(er) answer is a laundry list of tractors that help us get pecans from the top of the trees and into the fryer.

We are currently in the throes of harvest season. It’s slow business; we’ve experienced severe hurricane damage and now over a week in rain delays. We’ve had so much rain that you’ll notice a lot of these photos of machinery are taken under a shelter, rather than in use. But if we can get a few hours of sunlight to dry the wet mud enough to run a machine over it, somebody is back on the tractor with gumption.

Having spent 70 years in the John Deere tractor business, our family is particularly fond of the equipment, and it’s fitting to share just a bit about what they do. Consider this an introductory guide to the ins and outs of pecan harvest and the impressive machines imperative for agriculture.

Pecans are ready for harvest when the green husks are beginning to open. The nuts will visibly weigh down a tree with a good crop, with the top boughs bending down away from each other.

 The shaker, on a colder day than today, shaking his little heart out.

The shaker, on a colder day than today, shaking his little heart out.

The first step of harvesting is to shake the nuts off the trees. The shaker does this in the most literal way, having an arm that reaches out and clamps the tree before shaking its little heart. Truly the shaker is the piece of harvesting equipment most readily adaptable for a heartwarming Pixar film.

 Sweeper/blower making one of it’s several passes

Sweeper/blower making one of it’s several passes

 Windrows, replete with damage

Windrows, replete with damage

Next a tractor with sweeper and blower attached drives through. First, the blower, attached to the back of the tractor, blows the pecans away from the trees to make the nuts accessible for the sweeper. Then the sweeper drives through and blows the nuts from the opposite direction, which forms neat windrows. This may take anywhere from four to six passes through to form rows efficient for the harvester. Into these rows the machine also blows leaves, dirt, and rogue limbs, the larger of which have to be removed by hand. Farmhands walk up and down the long windrows, tossing any branches big enough to wreak havoc on the machinery.

 Harvester, carrying the final product

Harvester, carrying the final product

Finally comes the harvester, which drives over the windrows and blows the pecans into its wagon. This machine uses a conveyor system with a giant fan to separate nuts from anything heavier. The nuts are deposited into a wagon, ready to be cleaned and shelled. 

Alongside the normal process of harvesting, we are simultaneously continuing to clear Hurricane Michael’s destruction. A skid steer fronted with a limb grapple carries limbs, while a 40 foot lift platform gets into the top of the trees to cut out hanging limbs, or “widow makers.” And burn piles dotting the orchard are manned by the backhoe, quickly disposing of limbs that were in the way.

Many of you have asked why we don’t save the timber. Since we have near enough debris to fill a stadium, we have to get it out of the way of the harvester ASAP. And with so many other people with trees down, there’s little demand for our lumber. We’ve saved firewood for ourselves, and welcome people to come get their own.

Our pecans are mercifully ready for purchase now. It’s been a hectic season, but as always the best is yet to come. Thank you all for your continued support!

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Mini Pecan Pies, Only at Mistletoe Market!

David Johnson

 Yes, this is a full size pie which will not be at Mistletoe, but it isn’t it so pretty?

Yes, this is a full size pie which will not be at Mistletoe, but it isn’t it so pretty?

This year we’re selling our Mini Chocolate Pecan Pies, only available at Mistletoe Market! These little pies make the perfect personal sized snack for a day of festive shopping.

 Sarah Kate marveling at the 96 eggs she was about to crack. Truly making these pies for her has been an exercise in arithmetic and arthritis.

Sarah Kate marveling at the 96 eggs she was about to crack. Truly making these pies for her has been an exercise in arithmetic and arthritis.

Enjoy a classic chocolate pecan pie, just for you, to start off your holiday season. Our pies are made from scratch: buttery crust, sweet vanilla and Karo syrup filling, and topped with a layer of chocolate and pecans. No shortbread crust frills or bourbon glazes, just the classic, familiar pie you know from the Thanksgiving table.

Though our fresh and Sugar Fried pecans are available online all season long, these will only be available at Mistletoe Market, November 16—18, so we hope to see y’all soon!

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Mistletoe Market 2018

David Johnson

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It’s that time of year again! Please visit us at Mistletoe Market on November 16th, 17th, and 18th. Come find us posted up with Sugar Fried or fresh pecans, and (only available at Mistletoe,) mini chocolate pecan pies!

 Come see us and our little barn-booth, stocked with fresh and Sugar Fried pecans!

Come see us and our little barn-booth, stocked with fresh and Sugar Fried pecans!

Mistletoe takes place in Perry at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in the Miller Murphy Howard Building. Mistletoe Market has over 100 vendors, and serves as a one stop shop for unique gifts for everyone on our Christmas list.

Mistletoe Market is now in its 13th year, run by the Perry service club, Balvaunaca Club. To see a full list of vendors and more info, click here.

We’re buzzing like bees cooking our pecans for Mistletoe. It’s a busy and exciting weekend, and we hope to see you there!

Can’t make it out to Perry? You can always order online today!

Order now!

David Johnson

Our pecans are ready for order!

We appreciate y’all’s patience during this year’s especially hectic season, and are thankful for your continued interest in our pecans!

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Sarah Kate Johnson

FALL 2018 NOTICE: Due to the damage caused by Hurricane Michael, we are not yet taking orders for pecans. We expect to be taking orders by November 7th. Thank you for your patience, and please check back soon!

Pecan Crusted Pork Loin

Sarah Kate Johnson

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The whole family will love your Pecan Crusted Pork Loin…

…even your 7 pound mongrel

There’s nothing better than these slow roasted, savory crusted chops. This recipe is also stellar on lamb chops! Simply leave in the oven for half the time, around 10-15 minutes, or until the internal temperature reads 130 degrees. Serve the pork or lamb with creamed spinach and roasted potatoes for a low maintenance, special holiday dinner.

  • 1 pork loin, around 3 lbs

  • ½ of yellow mustard

  • 1 cup pecans, finely chopped

  • 2 tblsp of rosemary

  • 3 finely chopped garlic cloves

  • ¼ tsp of crushed red pepper

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp pepper

1) Preheat oven to 375 F. Pat pork loin dry, and then season well with salt and pepper, about a teaspoon of each.

2) Mix mustard, rosemary, red pepper, and garlic in a small bowl. Place chopped pecans in a large shallow dish.  

3) Coat pork loin in mustard mixture, then carefully dredge loin in pecans until well covered.

4) Cook pork loin uncovered in roasting dish for 20-25 minutes, or until thermometer inserted in middle registers 140 F

Won't be long now

David Johnson

It’s October 1st and pecan season is upon us! If only the new month would bring cool weather with it. The pecan’s husks are beginning to give a peep of this years crop. In a few short weeks we’ll be harvesting and sending these nuts out into the world.

Ocmulgee Orchards is humming on another season. Day in and day out we’re tending trees, or prepping for all the frying that is to come. We’re excited for another season of sharing our pecans with you!

Won’t be long now…

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Mistletoe Market

David James Johnson

Come stop by and see us during the 12th Annual Mistletoe Market. We'll have whole pecans, shelled pecans and Sugar Fried Pecans!