Perfectly spaced rows of pruned pecan trees border the rural road on our way to Stahmann’s Country Store. I have one purpose in mind – PECANS. Located a few miles south of Las Cruces, New Mexico, Stahmann’s estate grown pecans is in its 77th year as a family owned business. “Estate grown” means Stahmann’s grow all of their own pecans, never buying from other sources. Acres and acres of orchards receive irrigation from the Rio Grande. From tree to packaging each step is carefully controlled. For instance, Stahmann Farms stopped using chemical insecticides in the late 1980s. Instead, thousands of ladybugs, lacewing flies and natural predators control the harmful green and black aphids.
On our last trip through Las Cruces I discovered the Stahmann store on the historic plaza of Old Mesilla. A couple of tins of cinnamon spice pecans went home with us. Bob swears he doesn’t remember any of this, he’s sure I devoured them all myself? This time we purchase a half-dozen tins, roasted & salted, cinnamon spice and mild chile dusted. We resist the temptation of pralines, pecan brittle, white chocolate pecans and a dozen more tantalizing treats. I do make sure we tuck a catalog into the bag, making a mental note of their gift packages and assortments the next time I need special presents.
Before leaving we treat ourselves to the richest, creamiest pecan praline ice cream cone I’ve ever enjoyed. And, I’ve tried quite a few in my years. There’s something totally decadent with indulging in such a treat at 10:15 in the morning.
I want to go back sometime from May through August when tours are conducted every Wednesday morning and green leaves shade the orchard floor.
Sad Note: When our car was broken into in Phoenix one of the things that came up missing was our sack of Stahmann’s pecans. Bob moaned, “We hadn’t even gotten into them yet.” I tried to explain to everyone that these weren’t ordinary pecans, these were gourmet pecans. Next time we’ll eat our way out of the Stahmann’s parking lot.