Made in Texas: Royalty Pecan Farms

The Pecan has a long history in Texas, as a native speices, it has been harvested by pre-colonial Native Americans and later found popularity with colonists from Europe who began planting the first pecan orchards in the 1700s. It wouldn't be until the 1870s though when a former slave from the Oak Alley Plantation, only known as Antonie, would successfully graft a superior wild pecan to the plantation's seedlings, changing the entire industry forever. Antoine’s clone won the “Best Pecan Exhibited” award at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876, and it was recorded as the first official planting of an improved variety of pecan. 

Today the US produces more than 300 million pounds of Pecan's every year, many of them from family-run operations like Royalty Pecan Farm, which is just outside of College Station, Texas. Unlike many commercial orchards, Royalty Pecan Farms has fully embraced the public by not only offering tours and selling pecans but by creating a destination.

Inside the retail location, there are more pecan derived products than I ever knew existed, pecan oils, pecan flour, pecan butter, candied pecans, spicy pecans, pies, tarts, and several verities of raw pecans. They also have other Southern treats like F.R.O.G. Jam, old fashioned peaches, and pickled okra. If shopping isn't your thing, you can relax on the porch with a glass of local Texas wine, have some pecan pie, pecan banana bread, and enjoy the view overlooking the orchard. 

In addition to their weekly orchard tours, you can also arrange for wine tastings, sampling some of the best local wines from Central Texas including, Texas Star Wines and Messina Hof. Each month the feature wines change and at just $10 for a four wine tasting it is a great value. To make a day of it I suggest booking one of their orchard tours, which at $10 per adult and $5 for children 5-10 years old, with kids under 4 riding for free. The tour consists of a brief history of the pecan, the history of the farm, and ride along the tour in a covered wagon through the orchard. It is best to purchase tour tickets ahead of time, but you can always buy them onsite. 

You can learn more or shop online at

Bryan/College Station Day Trip:

For the perfect day trip start at Royalty Pecan Farms, then head over Messina Hof Winery for a tour and wine tasting. For dinner, I would recommend Ronin in Historic Downtown Bryan or check Ronin's calendar to see if they are offering one of their moonlight chefs dinners out on the farm.