Trundling northward just before Thanksgiving I passed through Arrey and Derry, New Mexico; both hamlets with chili and pecan orchards. Visioning a pecan pie, I pulled into a small orchard that appeared to be a family affair.
Sharon & Ray Ritzler were beginning to harvest their crop of pecans. Below is Ray's 1974 shaker...completely rebuilt except for the paint.
The tree goes between the tines and is delicately shaken.
The nuts fall to the ground where they are swept out of the way of the shaker's wheels by "whiskers."
A harvester that is basically a large vacuum cleaner, picks up the nuts and deposits them into a trailer.
After completing my purchase, I was sent to the Nutcracker to get my nuts cleaned. While there are a lot of jokes around nut cleaning, the operation is, in fact, a hand job.
The nuts are broken and shelled by machine, but the final cleaning is done by hand. Although the women refused to let their faces be photographed, it was evident from the camaraderie that this was a sophisticated operation.