By KELSY LORIN TAYLOR
Web Editor and Feature Writer
TASTY HARVEST: Hudson’s Pecan Orchard has become an integral part of the Bixby community since its establishment in 1986.
KELSY LORIN TAYLOR for GTR Newspapers
Hudson’s Pecan Orchard was established in 1986 and has become one of the most appreciated businesses in the Bixby area. Paul and Jerry Hudson hoped to find a hobby that would keep him occupied through retirement and decided that owning a pecan orchard would be something that his entire family would enjoy.
The first and most important decision that the Hudsons made while establishing the orchard was what variety of trees to use. “If you ask 10 people, you’ll get 10 different answers,” he laughs. Eventually, after a lot of research, he decided to plant native Pawnee and Merrimack pecan trees due to their light paper shells and unique tastes.
The Oklahoma State University Extension Office provided the Hudson family with immeasurable advice in the beginning of the orchard. “They were very helpful in providing us with suggestions of how to lay out and care for the orchard,” explains Jerry. Students and professors from continue to be involved at the orchard as they conduct experiments to help them learn more about pecan trees.
A date in the barn reading 1948 marks the year when Hudson’s father purchased the property that has such an important past. The Wealaka mission and town site were once located throughout the area. Many individuals refer to the orchard as Mission Ridge to honor the Wealaka who also made the property their home.
Owning the pecan orchard has been very rewarding for the Hudson family. “The pecan trees make the property very pretty and it is nice to live here,” says Paul. They enjoy waking up each morning to the variety of wildlife that the trees bring. “There are so many kinds of birds here like red birds and blue birds,” adds Jerry. There are also a lot of rabbits and squirrels that spend time in the shade of the trees that the family admires. “We feed a lot of wildlife,” exclaims Paul.
The soil in the area is ideal for growing the pecan trees. “The trees are often grown beside a creek, river or low lying area. The reason for this is that the water overflows occasionally, which creates rich soil on the banks, which is important for growing pecan trees,” explains Paul.
The Hudson family begins harvesting their pecans in early October. Paul expects to have a total of 10,000 to 15,000 pounds of harvested pecans this year. “This year we didn’t have very many pecans. The trees will produce one year and the next year they won’t.” A good year of production at the orchard normally reaches 70,000 to 80,000 pounds of pecans.
For more information, call (918) 366-3531.