Add nut theft to the growing list of felons. With an increase in the demand for pecans, thieves are making off with fallen nuts from the largest producing states of Georgia and California.
NPR reports farmer Greg Daviet, who lost tens of thousands of pounds of pecans, now carries a gun. "The most common thing is people coming literally in the middle of the night, shaking nuts out of trees, wrecking them up and then taking them out on their vehicle," Daviet said.
Sheriffs' departments are on high alert and apparently, stealing more than $500 worth of pecans is considered a felony. Still, orchards are often too large to effectively guard. Once the thief gets away, stolen nuts are easy to unload at roadside stands. Rural hardware stores and gas stations act as middlemen.
The pecan industry is shuffling to pass more comprehensive laws to help prevent thefts, but with growing demand in Europe, the Middle East, India, and China, pecan theft probably won't slow down anytime soon. Who knows, maybe pecans will surpass cheese in the most-stolen-food category?
The Daily Byte is a regular column dedicated to covering interesting food news and trends across the country. Click here for previous columns.