Revitalizing a family legacy: Mote family restores, expands family pecan farm
Off FM 61 and Clark Road is a piece of land with a panoramic view of Lake Graham which serves as a historic property for the Mote family, housing a pecan orchard at Pea Ridge. Last year, the 90-acre property, which used to house over 1,000 pecan trees, was transferred to Ryan Mote. The property has since died down to 140 trees, but Mote and his family have begun efforts to revitalize the property and opened a new pecan business for sale online.
Mote inherited the land of his great-grandfather R.D. Mote, who purchased the property after farming on a lease from the Burch family. A native of Young County, R.D. Mote lived in California for 20 years and returned to the county in 1961. His great-grandfather started the process of clearing the land and began growing fruits and vegetables. At the farm, his great-grandfather invited the community to buy a watermelon or other seasonal offerings.
“He had cantaloupes and watermelons and berries and all sorts of stuff as early as the 20s. So he purchased it from the Birch family, Nannie Birch, in 1926. And so it was old Birch property. They had entered a lease agreement where they were farming it and paying lease on it and then they ended up entering into a purchase. So that’s kind of where this started with my family, the Motes,” Ryan Mote said. “What’s special to me is I grew up coming here since I was eight years old. So as a kid, I’d come for two months every summer with my grandparents, and hunt and fish and ride motorcycles and all that. So it was kind of a special place to me. But as far as the pecan orchard goes, it really hadn’t been taken care of much. It just (was) kind of overgrown and they started dying off. So I think my grandpop had 1,000 trees, or something like that, and we’re down to like 140 now.”
Ryan Mote said his mother Linda Mote received the property through inheritance in the trust after his grandparents Bill and Olga Mote passed away. A tornado came and knocked the house down which sat on the property. Mote said he was the only one in his family willing to build on the property so his mother gave him the property as an advanced inheritance.
“Right now we’re revitalizing it. (...) there was an invasive species that was (...) grown all up around the trees that are there and we’ve dug all those out, ripped them up by the roots and got rid of that. (We) sprayed, revitalized the land, and then (...) we’ve got 30 acres of irrigation going in right now,” Mote said “We’re doing it in three phases and that should be done in the next couple of weeks. And then at the end of the month, we have 400 trees coming inbound to replant (that are) mostly pecans. There’s about 25 other fruit trees, but there’s about 375 pecan trees that are going to get planted, and then we’ll do another phase of 30 acres once finances allow (...). I think that our plan is 1,200 Trees total.”
Mote said as a family this year they picked nearly 1,000 pounds of pecans from the existing trees on the property. He said with the right equipment he said they could have tripled the amount this year, but needed more financing for a harvester. His family held Thanksgiving at the farm and his local family and other family in the DFW area pitched in and got ready for the sale to go live online.
For the rest of the story, see the Dec. 8 edition of The Graham Leader.