Today is Pecan Day, not to be confused with National Pecan Day (April 14) or National Pecan Month (also April). As the only nut tree native to North America, the pecan has been a source of pride since the founding of the United States.
The pecan tree was declared the State Tree of Texas in 1906; the pecan became State Nut in 1919. Ninety years later, Arkansas also named the pecan as its State Nut. Interestingly, the two states also share the same State Historic Cooking Vessel: the Dutch oven. (We would’ve chosen the George Foreman Grill. That thing is amazing.)
The story behind Pecan Day is this: On March 25, 1775, George Washington planted pecan trees on his grounds in Mount Vernon, NY. They were a gift from Thomas Jefferson, who had transplanted a number of the trees from the Mississippi Valley to his home in Monticello, NY.
A few of those trees still stand today as a reminder that, even as they geared up for war, the founders could still make time for a little agriculture. (Having slaves to do the manual labor probably helped, too, but that’s a story for another time.)
Happy Pecan Day!