Many businesses whose products we enjoy today started with hobby farms. Alan Bundy, with Elizabeth’s Pecan Products, and B&B Pecan Processors, in Turkey, NC is just one of those farms that started out as a project for retirement:
“My dad started it in 1981, and 1982. And we’ve got three varieties one being a native to North Carolina, the Cape Fear, we have Sumner’s and Desireable’s. Now, by luck, the three pecans I grow just happen to be paper shells, and highly oily, which makes my candy better. It’s on 45 acres, we’ve actually expanded by another five acres over the last two years.”
And from a hobby orchard grew Elizabeth’s Pecan Products explains Bundy:
“My father planted the pecan orchard just to have something to do when he retired, and he passed away early, and I kinda took it over, the pecan farm, and learned how to grow pecans and stuff like that. And I started selling the pecans out of the shell in little baggies and things like that. And then in ‘96 I built a building to actually process pecans, then in 97, I came out with one of my first candies, which is named after my only daughter, Elizabeth.”
As the candy business evolved and grew, Bundy explains that more machinery was needed, and he utilized grants from the Tobacco Trust Fund and other sources for the expansion:
“Basically, through the Tobacco Trust Fund, if you will, that Value Added,, I bought a chocolate machine, which basically enrobes and puts chocolate on the bottom of it. I have five different flavors, with various chocolate, a couple are new since I bought the machine and could experiment myself. I bought seemers, which are basically equipment to seal the cans, gives me a better can. The equipment was kind of expensive but with their help, I can basically put it in a can with a longer shelf life.”
Most of the sales from Bundy’s candy company are corporate, or on-line, although they do have a small store at their operation in Turkey.
For more of Southern Farm Network’s series on using Value Added Production grants visit our website, SFNToday dot com.