Lenny Wells, UGA Cooperative Extension pecan specialist and the university’s leading voice in the pecan industry, covers the history of pecans and their popularity in the South in his first book, Pecan: America’s Native Nut Tree.
In the book, Wells addresses the pecan’s progression from wild tree to the $361 million crop it is today in Georgia. The book also covers the industry’s rise from the forests of the Mississippi River valley throughout the U.S.
When Wells started his job at UGA, he found a box of old magazines, articles and pamphlets from the early 1900s in his office. These texts, left by his predecessor, Tom Crocker, included an interesting story about the location of pecans’ beginnings as an agricultural crop.
The book includes recently discovered data on the health advantages of pecans, like the nut’s high level of antioxidants and its heart health benefits. The book also covers the development of different pecan varieties and the nut’s surge in popularity around the world.