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Grounded by the Farm

Jan 8, 2020

You can see video of the farm at

Belenus Farms Facebook page is

Trish and Brian McKeighen purchased a farm in Saint David, Arizona that had a dozen pecan trees. The couple used Brian's baking knowledge to create new recipes for candied pecans including a local flavor called Mexican chocolate. 

For Trish and Brian, the farm was located in a great area -- Brian's family ranches nearby -- but the couple didn't know anything about pecans. And with a dozen or so trees on the property, they decided they needed to quickly learn more about them as it offered a way to begin getting some return on their investment in the farm. 

Bringing back the trees that had been neglected for years was only one thing to consider. The McKeighens also knew there were a lot of other places that could sell customer pecans. So they wanted something more. They went through a lengthy process of developing flavors and recipes and had fellow farmers taste test and provide feedback on the candied pecans. 

The unique Mexican choclate flavor was inspired by a family member's love of Mexican hot chocolate -- a long time local favorite drink for winter.

When it comes to favorite ways of eating pecans, Trish's dad likes them plain as he watches television but Brian's baking skills take the path toward desserts like pecan pie cheesecake.

As they built various new pieces to the farm, they added backyard chickens, so the couple have home grown eggs to use in the recipes. 

Brian shares some of the learnings they have had with food safety also led to product quality improvements. For instance, soaking pecans shortly before their are cracked allows them to remove any chicken litter, but also seems to yield more halves and larger pieces in the shelling process.