The Dallas Morning News is warning all good Texans that prices for their beloved pecans -- to make the official state pie, of course -- are likely to be very high this year. This would not normally have caught my eye, had I not earlier talked to James McWilliams about pecans and history. That was when I learned about the pivotal role Chinese pecan lovers play in the price of the fabled nut, and the Dallas Morning News duly mentions the Chinese factor. But it also mentions two other factors that I didn't know about.

First, pecans are alternate bearing. That is, like many other tree crops, good years tend to alternate with bad, and 2012 was a good year. Secondly, supplies will be even lower than expected in 2013 because a late freeze in April hit the blossoms. So prices for 2013 pecans will be high.

But there's good news too. Nuts harvested in 2012 are still available, having been kept in cold storage, and might well be cheaper. Are they as good? I've no idea, and the Dallas Morning News doesn't say, although it does say you can tell the older nuts because they are darker. And 2014 will probably see lower prices, both because it will be time for a heavier crop and because a recent drought has now ended.

listen to the podcast with James McWilliams.

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