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By Cara Beth Lewis

For the Allen family, the goal was to grow the best pecans and give customers something to talk about– So they made a plan. Owners Jimmy and Trish Allen are the owners of Allen Family Orchards in Tar Heel, and it goes beyond “just pecans.”

The Allens shared the story of how Allen Family Orchards came to be with BladenOnline. Trish Allen explained, “If you live in the country and own land you either farm it yourself or rent it out.  We tried our hand at farming in addition to owning a company in Wilmington, but found that it was just too much. There didn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to do it all.” She continued, “In 2008 we decided to plant a Pecan Orchard. How hard could that be? For the first few years it was fairly easy, but we learned quickly that there was much more to it. After planting the trees, we installed the irrigation system. Irrigation is the key to growth, along with spraying, fertilizing, and pruning. This became more work than farming, but we were already invested and there was no turning back.”

The Allens do what they have always done, set a goal and make a plan, according to Trish. Jimmy joined the National Pecan Growers Association to learn more about the industry, and is now the Vice President of the Association.  As a small business owner, knowledge and willingness to learn are two of the keys to success.

Trish went on to say, “For a while it was fun selling the pecans out of the barn behind our house, but we needed to think bigger because the crops were getting larger. In 2019 we toyed with the idea of purchasing more land, planting more trees, and eventually opening a store.  In 2021 that idea became reality.”

In late 2021, Allen Family Orchards opened with a processing center in the back and a store in the front. Trish and Jimmy added, “The first thing people notice when they walk in the front door is the sweet aroma of cinnamon and sugar that fill the air.” Five different kinds of delicious gourmet pecans are sold at Allen Family Orchards store: Chocolate Dipped, Candied, Roasted Himalayan Salted, Praline Covered, and Salted Caramel. Pecans are also available still in the shell. The owners shared, “Believe it or not, people still like to shell their pecans. For those who do not have the time, we have them already cleaned and ready to go!”

In addition to pecans, the store carries Stuckey items: Pecan Log Rolls, Pecan Divinity, Pecan Brittle, and more. The owners added, “We even came up with our own signature frappe. It’s a mixture of coffee and cream with a few secret ingredients topped off with whipped cream, caramel drizzle and our own candied pecans… A favorite for many customers.”

Pecans in all forms, frappes, and goodies… but wait! There’s more! They also serve several kinds of fruit smoothies and ice cream. They serve butter pecan ice cream, of course, but there are also other flavors to choose from.

Trish and Jimmy explained, “Our goal is to be ‘that stopping place;’ The place where the beach-bound or lake-bound people stop to rest, stretch, take a bathroom break, or sit a spell at the picnic tables and eat ice cream or munch on their favorite gourmet pecans.”

“You can always guarantee you will be greeted with a warm hello and a whiff of cinnamon and sugar when you come through the door. If you are on 87, just south of a little town called Tar Heel, stop in and see us!” – Trish and Jimmy Allen, owners. 

Website: allenfamilyorchards.com

Facebook: Allen Family Orchards

Location: Allen Family Orchards 50 Pecan Lane, Tar Heel NC 28392

Contact: 910-866-4546

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