Gee Family's Hart of Texas Pecan Orchard
This is our story
Robert was born to Willis & Fredda Hawkins, in Tulia, Tx. He moved to Hart in 1941 and attended Hart schools until graduation. He then attended West Texas State University until 1952 and came home to farm. He then married Leta Mae Moss that same year and moved into a two-room home that he built into the existing home on the farm now. Leta Mae was born to Roy and Ola Moss in Olton Tx living most of her life in Oklahoma but moved to Hart to attend school when she was fourteen. That is when Robert met her and told her he was going to marry her. They have four children. David, Theron, Lesa, and Phillip.
In 1961, on their daughter’s first birthday, they planted a forty-acre pecan orchard that originally consisted of 1000 trees. They continued to grow and sell pecans all over the country until each of their deaths. (Leta in 2014 and Robert in 2018) During that time they grew potatoes, cucumbers, beets, wheat, cotton, maize, corn, and soybeans, and honeybees as well as other produce and products. He also raised Angus cattle for a few years. Robert was as close to an organic farmer as you could get in these parts of Texas. He did not believe in pesticides but rather in keeping your trees healthy and the soil rich. He used lady bugs, natural products such as garlic and fish oil, and zip spiders to keep pests under control.
In 1966, Robert expanded his farming operation from 360 acres to 1400 acres and earned the Castro County Outstanding Young Farmer of the year.
All while farming, Robert held many positions. He was a Marketing Grain representative, traveling for the National Farmers Organization covering New Mexico, Kansas, Texas, and Oklahoma for three years. He was also on the Hart School Board, Scout master for Boy Scouts of America, and was on the Board of Directors of First State Bank in Hart. He was also named President of the Pecan Producers Inc, in Goldthwaite, Tx. Robert was very active in the Hart Lions Club and received the highest Melvin Jones Fellow award (posthumous) for his dedication in humanitarian services.
He also owned and operated a dirt excavation business for many years. He and Leta also opened, and she operated a restaurant in Hart, the Double H, for many years. She was also active in women’s ministry and was a Girl Scout leader. She raised and canned all the family’s food, raised four kids and was right at his side working, during planting and harvest.
He was the Minister of music for the First United Methodist Church in Hart for 54 years until his death. He also held the position of Lay Delegate to Annual Conference for 30 plus years. Robert was involved in and attended Walks to Emmaus for many years as well as traveled to sing and witness at Lay Witness Missions. He was also a counselor and trainer for Kairos Prison Ministry until his death. He would minister through his music there as well.
He designed and built the Centennial Plaza and Gazebo on the courthouse lawn in Dimmitt, Texas as well as the Centennial Plaza in Hart, Tx.
Robert was also an inventor and held a patent for a piece of equipment to aid in planting trees and posts etc. He was a master at building equipment and modifying other equipment in order to reduce the labor force that allowed him to harvest the orchards and process the pecans using only three people.
Up until his death, he planted a 3000-tree nursery with his children’s and grandchildren’s help, with plans to complete a 120-acre orchard. His plans were to eventually fill the draw and additional acres of grassland all into producing orchards. For 60 years, the Hawkins Orchard has been a landmark and legacy.
Robert and Leta Mae loved to camp in the mountains, travel, and fish. They both loved life in general. He enjoyed riding and traveling on his motorcycle until his death at age 84. He was blessed with a beautiful voice and enjoyed singing at weddings, funerals, and all church and community related activities. They both loved their children and grandchildren dearly.
Dad’s advice to us was to always honor God, be kind to our fellow man and live life to its fullest. He also told us, if we did not like what we were doing for a living, then change it and do what made us happy. He told us we didn’t have to be rich to be happy. He said being rich is in the eye of the beholder … just be as rich as you are happy.
After Mr. Hawkins’s death in 2018, the Gee Family purchased the orchard from his family in 2021. They are continuing the legacy Mr. Hawkins’ began many years ago as being a family operation.
Types of trees
In Main Orchard Western Schley, Pawnee, Wichita and Burkett
In the Nursery
1 lb. halves $12
1 lb. pieces $10
Candied Pecans 6 oz/$7 plus tax
You can find our pecans at Gee Family’s Fall Daze and Gee Family’s Sweet Corn Daze.
WHEN AND WHERE
Gee Family’s Sweet Corn Daze – Starts MID-JULY
2 PM – 7 PM
Gee Family Farm Storefront, Amarillo, TX
7651 South Whitaker Road
7 AM until sold out
Golden Spread Farmers Market, Amarillo, TX
15th & Pecos, in the Sunset Center Parking Lot
6 PM until sold out
The Gee Family Home, Dimmitt, TX
1150 US Highway 86
WHEN AND WHERE
Gee Family’s Fall Daze
Saturdays in October • 10am – 7pm
7651 South Whitaker Rd. • Amarillo, TX
Sally Sidman's Southern Pecan Pie
- 3 whole eggs
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 cup karo syrup
- 1/3 cup melted margarine
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 cup pecans
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat eggs, sugar, salt, flour, Karo, and melted butter. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Sprinkle pecans on top. Bake at 350 degrees F. For 50 minutes Cool and serve.
Chocolate Toffee Fudge
From the Kitchen of Michele
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3/ 4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- Pecans to cover bottom of 8×8 pan
Grease 8×8 pan and spread pecans on the bottom. In a saucepan, melt butter and brown sugar until it boils. Boil for 7 minutes stirring constantly. Pour over pecans and sprinkle 1 /2 cup chocolate chips. Cover the pan. Spread chocolate chips when melted. Refrigerate and break into squares when set.