From Telegraphs to Telephones and Beyond
Posted: Aug 25, 2015
Millican Pecan Company has been at the forefront for shelled pecans in the pecan industry for quite some time. Being located in San Saba, Texas which is in the heart of Central Texas and at the top of the Hill Country area, is an area dubbed the "Pecan Capital of the World". In this small town pecan pioneer, E.E. Risien, started planting new pecan trees and then opened his pecan nursery. From there he developed many new varieties including the Western Schley and other top quality varieties. The "Western" variety, as it is referred to in the pecan industry, is still the most popular pecan variety planted in the world today. His customers included Alfred Lord Tennyson, Queen Victoria and other notorieties throughout England and the United States. Being the inventor and entrepreneur that he was, he developed new grafting technologies and techniques to improve his pecan nursery. In fact, his patch budding technique is still used today in nurseries throughout the southern United States. He had numerous United States Patents on developing rooting systems for growing pecan trees where the tap root was not cut.
Besides growing his nursery business, Risien also installed a telegraph line over five miles of rough terrain so he could receive orders from customers worldwide. In the mail order catalog company for the West Texas Pecan Nursery, one could purchase not only pecan trees, but also pecan halves and inshell pecans. Although the pecan trees took up the majority of the black and white catalog that was distributed to each customer, Mr. Risien was wise in preparing for the future where the market for fresh pecans and candies would one day blossom. His great-great grandson, Winston Millican, and wife, Kristen, are thankful for his progressive ways that were started so long ago. They are able to expand on his forward-thinking ideas by using the internet to ship shelled pecans and candies all over the world through their website, www.millicanpecan.com. From the moment that Winston and Kristen launched their online efforts their goal was to create an online shopping experience that was easy for their customers to navigate, but also provided an environment that helped the user feel like they were walking through the orchards and hand selecting the pecans themselves. This user friendly site has gained the attention of television shows and publications across the United States in recent years. The Food Network, The Martha Stewart Show, Southern Living magazine, and Bon Appetit magazine are just a few of the well-known publications and shows that have featured this historical company.
While Millican Pecan Company has upgraded over the years from telegraphs and typewriters to the Internet and email, they are still well-rooted in their heritage that has been carefully passed down through the generations. Delivering top-quality, irrigated pecans as well as fresh pecans to their customers is a goal that their family has stayed true to for over 135 years. They are also continuing to plant new orchards to expand the newer varieties that their customers are expecting. The Pawnee variety is the cultivar that is in high demand with the newest technology and techniques for shelling pecans. The revolutionary Savage Pecan Air Cracker cracks 500 kn per minute. This has increased their productivity over the old industry standard of the Myers Pecan Cracker, which was used for many years in their shelling facility. Each Savage Pecan Cracker has been able to replace five Myers Pecan Crackers. Not only did they increase their productivity, but they also lowered the amount of floor space available in their shelling plant. New color sorting technology is also being utilized in the shelling facility to further the quality control efforts that the company works hard to produce. The new Satake Color Sorters separate shell and dark nut meats from the light, fancy pecans. On the inshell side of their facility they use a Savage Color Sorter for the whole nuts. It separates pecans with dark shells from the pecans with lighter shells which saves a tremendous amount of time and helps them provide high quality shelled pecans that their customers have come to expect from them.
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