Orangeburg Pecan Company is a family owned corporation founded in 1939 in Orangeburg, S.C. by Marion H. Felder. Mr. Felder had been in the fresh fruit and produce business for many years operating one of the largest produce growing farms in South Carolina.
Mr. Felder bought and sold in-shell pecans during the Fall Harvest season. When the first commercial quality pecan crackers were invented he was amazed and intrigued. He bought two of these new machines and in the fall of 1939 began cracking and shelling pecans. People liked being able to buy pecan nutmeats free of shell. This was the beginning of Orangeburg Pecan Company and the beginning of the pecan shelling industry.
The company shells pecans purchased from local growers both small and large. When necessary, pecans are trucked in from Georgia, Alabama, and other pecan producing states. We have dealt with many of the growers through the years and continue to buy from the same orchards year after year.
More machinery was added at the Orangeburg Pecan Company each year until in the late 40's, after World War II, a larger plant was needed. Mr. Felder's son, Fred Felder, Sr., designed and built the new plant. It was fitted with all the latest equipment. Additions and improvements have been constant thru the years. In the 60's the Company built it's own cold storage freezers to keep the pecans fresh through the hot South Carolina summers. Electronic color sorting machines were added. These machines reject any shell fragments or undesirable pieces. Newer computer controlled sorting equipment replaced the older units. In the early 80' s, Freddy Felder, grandson of Company founder and new Company President, decided it was time to renovate the plant to incorporate the new air controlled cracker technology
Although the Company continues to utilize the latest in technology, we still hand pick and visually inspect (several times) all pecans that we produce.
When you use Orangeburg pecans you can be assured that three generations of family experience go into supplying you with quality pecans at a reasonable price.
A brief history of pecans.
The pecan is native to North America and generally speaking follows the Cotton Belt from the Carolinas to Texas. Pecans are not grown commercially on any other continent.
The pecan is an uniquely American product. The American Indian used pecans as a major foodstuff long before the advent of the white man. The famous explorer DeSoto made mention of the pecan as early as 1541. Many other explorers recorded information about this American nut with the "fine and delicate" taste.
The first record of pecans being sent from the Deep South to the North appears in 1799 when, on the twelfth of November, Daniel Clark of New Orleans sent a box of pecans to Thomas Jefferson, then Vice-President.
There seems to be no definite record as to when cultivated pecan trees were first planted; although many believe this to have taken place in the 1780’s. Cultivated pecans are the large paper shell nuts grown in the southeastern United States.
It remained for Antoine, a slave gardener on Oak Alley Plantation near New Orleans, in 1846-47 to be the first person to successfully graft pecan trees. The slave Antoine had thus laid the foundation upon which was to be a great industry.
From the time of the early explorers to the commercially cultivated orchards of today, the pecan remains the unique American nut and has moved forward to become one of America’s great horticulture crops.
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