What's in a Pickle? A Look Inside West Texas's Cucumber Harvest

LUBBOCK, TX - Most people on the South Plains know that cotton is king, but one thing you might not think of when it comes to products grown is cucumbers. West Texas is home to a growing cucumber operation.

Best Maid grows more that 60 percent of their cucumbers in this region. Those cucumbers will be turned into world famous Best Maid Pickle Products. Best Maid Crop Production Manager, Stephen Geotz, said the climate in West Texas is ideal for growing cucumbers. 

"We have warm days and cool nights," Geotz said. " Whenever it cools off at night it gives the plant a chance to rest and we really see some high yields because of it." 

The cucumbers have a shorter growing period than other crops like corn and cotton. It takes an average of 45 days from planting to harvest to grow the perfect cucumber. 

Even though it is a shorter amount of time, Geotz said it requires a lot of hard work for the farmers. 

"We manage the crop from the time we plant it," Geotz said. "We will cultivate it, sand fight it and have hoe crews come in and hand hoe all of the fields. We find the best time to harvest and use Best Maid's harvesters. The cucumbers will leave the field in hoppers and go to our grading facility where we sort it and then it will be in Fort Worth." 

And in Fort Worth, those cucumbers will become a Best Maid pickle.

"Every product that they make that is a pickle can come from this crop," Geotz said. 

Growth in technology has dramatically improved the harvesting process of the cucumbers. This new technology has helped farmers to harvest about 50,000 pounds in an hour. 

An interesting fact about growing cucumbers is that bees play in vital role in having a successful crop. A bee must visit each plant three times to properly pollinate the flower, so most cucumber fields have bee hives placed in the fields. 



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