CAMP VERDE, AZ (ARIZONA HIGHWAYS TV) -- You could say that Dr. Richard Tinlin is a jack-of-all-trades, but that title doesn't seem to do this Camp Verde pecan farmer justice.
"Rather than having to bend down every time, I invented this device. I'll show you that I can pick up a pecan with ease without having to bend over," said Tinlin regarding how easier work is with his invention. "I can fill these chambers up. I can go over to a pail, and I can release pecans just like that."
The retired geophysicist and inventor bought 35 acres of property in Camp Verde with the knowledge of its potential.
"I bought the farm, and I came here," said Tinlin. "And being an Iowa farm boy, I knew I didn't like to bail hay or have cows. So, I put in pecan trees. Historically, there are a lot of old pecan trees here in the Verde Valley. Some of them [are] almost 100 years old. So, I knew they would grow here.
Tinlin talked about the type of pecan trees he raises and revealed what can make a good pecan.
"The variety we grow is the Wichita and a Western. They're compatible in a sense of pollination. I really like the Wichita. The bag end of a pecan is the nutmeat that's in the pecan," said Tinlin. "We have a very good quality pecan -- very tasty. And the nutmeat is a light tan color. And that's the mark of a really good pecan."
Every harvest, Tinlin invites local school children to come down to his Summer Place Pecan Farm and watch what can only be described as a little "pecan storm."
"I'm going to start the tractor up," said Tinlin when explaining the "pecan storm" method to the kids. "I'm going to open that big machine up, back up to the tree and clamp it right to the tree."
As the children watch the process, the doctor uses his tree shaker and makes it rain pecans!
The children cheer as he does it.
You could say it's Tinlin's version of a nutty pinata party, except you don't need a pinata!
Screaming, squealing children are instantly gratified with all the pecans they can stuff in their little brown sacks, hats and pockets.
"I wish all my help was this enthusiastic!" said Tinlin.
He went on to further describe how his pecan business operation works.
"We have shipped as far as Germany and China. We do a lot of farmers' markets. We grow about 50 to 60,000 pounds, and we shell out maybe another 15 to 20,000 pounds, which we keep in the barn and freezers," explained Tinlin. "And that way, we have a high-quality pecan for the farmers' markets, which are quite fun to do. I enjoy the farmers' markets greatly because people really want a good product."
So what makes for a good pecan?
"A fresh pecan is almost sweet. You can tell it's sweet. It has a crunchiness to it. You can take the nut, and break it and it just snaps," said Tinlin. "Of course, it also has that unique pecan flavor that's hard to describe until you experience it."
And of course, Tinlin acknowledges you cannot be in the pecan business without living the pecan mantra.
"Sometimes I feel like a nut, and sometimes I don't," he said.