Florida Family Bonds Around Pecans, Honey and Holy Cards
Catholic farmer and entrepreneu Pete Bond says the pecan business “will drive us nuts,” and the honey business “is very sticky.”
Ready for holiday shopping? There’s a Catholic business you should know about. Not only does the Bond family sell holy cards at PersonalizedHolyCards.com, they also offer a tempting collection of pecan-based goodies — from whole pecans to pecan clusters, dark chocolate-covered pecans, pecan rolls and more to Regina cigars, gourmet honey and Regina coffee.
Obviously, there is a Catholic theme and message here. Why? The owner of this business is Peter Bond, a Florida native born into a Catholic household. “I am a cradle Catholic,” he said. “We were Sunday Mass Catholics, and I had questioning periods into my early 30s. But when I started having children and by the grace of God, I got deepened into Catholicism.”
For the past 19 years, Bond has been a daily communicant, and attributes every blessings and graces to his faith. He added, “I cannot live without my faith. We have four or five solid parishes here, and I am raising my 10 children to be Catholic with two finishing college, one in high school, five middle/elementary age kids homeschooled, and twin baby girls as well.”
His strong faith underscores how Bond uses his food business as a way to proclaim Catholicism. He attributes his food fascination to his family background. As he explained, his father grew up in the restaurant business in Pensacola, Florida. Besides, his grandmother was Italian, his grandfather Greek, and his mother’s family were from South Carolina, a state that showcases great comfort food. They were all fantastic cooks, he said, recalling that whenever the family put out dinner, it was a celebration. “My mom specialized in Southern cooking, such as chicken and dumplings,” he said. “Dad specialized in seafood and pasta dishes.”
His earliest food memories were visiting his mother’s family at Thanksgiving when all family members gathered for food and games outdoors. His aunt and uncle also owned a large pecan orchard, he recalled, and as guests sat down for dinner, the hosts always offered a large bowl of pecans. “It was a good memory,” he said.
One day while fishing off the Florida coast with family members, Pete's brother-in-law told him that he ought to get a home at the beach when he retired. Bond replied, “I doubt I'll ever retire, but if I did, I would get a pecan farm with a pond on it." That thought got stuck in his mind, and he kept looking for a pecan farm. He and his wife visited seven or eight farms, and finally found one nearby in southern Georgia, only a half-hour from their north Florida home. And “no,” he said, “I am not retired.”
The business offers both pecans and honey. “We grow around 10,000 pounds of pecans,” he said, “and the business will drive us nuts, and the honey business is very sticky. We have hives on our farm, so we also go for tupelo honey.”
Likely his inspiration for this “nutty” business came from his great-grandparents. “I found out that my great-grandparents had come from Greece,” he said. “They worked in Georgia near our farm and they actually had a small shop where they made pecan candy... I guess the pecan business is in my blood.”
Bond attributes his pecan success to divine providence and he uses his pecan business to support the local Catholic high school. “I try to do whatever God wants us to do,” he said. “One of the major purposes of the pecan company is to support Catholic education.”
(Note: To place an order, visit www.PetesPecans.com and use coupon code NCR10.)
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Recipe: Chocolate Pecan Pie
A yummy treat at any time. Mr. Bond says it is based on a Karo Syrup recipe.
- 1 cup Karo light or dark corn syrup
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 ounces Pete’s Pecans Natural Elliott Halves
- 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 (9-inch) frozen deep-dish pie crust
Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter, and vanilla.
Stir in pecans and chocolate chips. Pour filling into pie crust.
Bake on center rack of oven until center reaches 200°F and springs back slightly when touched.
Cook time is approximately 1 hour. Refrigerate and serve in approximately 1 hour.