Paul Lee was looking for a hobby when he and his wife Jackie were ready to build their home in Willcox. The couple decided to plant pecan trees and start their own orchard.

Its busy all year,” Paul said. “We dont really have what you call slack time.

He planted the trees to create a beautiful landscape outside their home, but it also gives him something to do when he wasn’t working.

I wanted a pretty place to build a house,” Paul said. “In Arizona you have plant trees to do that. That was our main purpose is to have a pretty place. But its evolved.

They have 220 trees on eight acres of land that produce, what Paul says are Native American varieties of pecans. The trees produce more than 20,000 pounds of pecans a year.

A lot of people come here dont know where a pecan comes from,” Paul said. “They dont know if theyre grown underground or on top. And they really appreciate the knowledge.

The couple learned how to run a pecan farm from friends who had orchards of their own. Paul said he watched other farmers to learn what was needed. Now he and his wife are helping the next generation of pecan farmers.

We have friends here that started their pecan orchards way before we did so we learned from them and now we have younger ones that have come to us to find out about it, and we share with them, Jackie said.

Paul takes care of the orchard and Jackie runs the shop where they sell more than 10,000 pounds of pecans. They said they take their pecans to New Mexico and Texas for processing before bringing half their batch back to Willcox. Jackie says she has customers all over the country that order pecans. She has customers from Canada that take 50 pounds of pecans back with them that will last them until they return, she said.

The couple agrees that they didn’t expect to have as much success as they have had.

At 85-years-old, Paul doesn’t plan on fully retiring anytime soon.

I like to say its a retirement hobby and it keeps me busy and its something we like to do, Paul said.

Enjoying what they do, is the couple’s secret to success.

Its just the love and care we give them, Paul said.