A charming new downtown shop offers a unique twist on a Southern staple—candied pecans.
The next time you take a stroll down the sidewalks of Summerville’s South Cedar Street, you may notice the air is slightly sweeter. The faint smells of cinnamon and sugar are enough to tease your senses. Guided by your nose and watering taste buds, you’ll suddenly find yourself surrounded by pecans, not knowing how you got there. Welcome to Molly & Me Pecans.
Owned by Lowcountry native Kay Holseberg, Molly & Me Pecans has been serving up mouthwatering variations of the southern delicacy since 2008, after she decided to trade in her corporate business attire for an apron and start cooking.
Born into a military family, Kay grew up on military bases throughout the United States. When it came time to decide her next move, she found the answer by getting back to her roots.
“I’ve always loved to go for walks around my family’s farm,” she said “One day I just started picking up pecans wondering to myself why no one had ever done anything with them before.”
After experimenting in the kitchen, she began sharing her bounty with family and friends. What started as a hobby quickly turned into a full-fledged business. With her 8-year-old mastiff, Molly, in tow, Kay continues to harvest pecans on her 18-acre farm in Holly Hill. Her companion since the start, it was only fitting to name the business after her beloved canine.
Molly & Me Pecans quickly became a staple at the Charleston and Bluffton farmer’s markets. With the amount of visitors from all over the country and the world, setting up an online retail store was the most natural progression.
“For me, it’s not just about the pecans,” said Holseberg. “It’s more about the way pecans have allowed me to meet and connect with so many people from all over the world, each from different walks of life.”
Though still available at both farmers’ markets, through the online store and at nearly 25 various retail locations throughout the Southeast, Holseberg decided it was time for Molly & Me Pecans to set up a permanent home base. Summerville’s charming historic downtown district was a perfect fit. With each variation of pecans prominently on display for sampling and a comfortable seating area, the shop is both warm and inviting. Roasted and dressed in splendid blends of spices, salts and sugars, Molly & Me Pecans currently offers six signature flavors to choose from including Praline, Roasted & Salted, Sugar & Spice, Cinnamon Sugar, Sneaky Hot and Sweet Heat. Additional offerings also include a chocolate dipped variety and a rotating assortment of baked treats including cowboy cookies, pecan pie bars and cupcakes.
“Hands down, pralines have consistently been our most popular,” said Holseberg. “Sweet Heat trails behind a close second.”
Each variety is perfectly balanced in their own right. The pralines are sweet enough, but aren’t too sweet—as they often can be. Sweet Heat has just the right amount of cayenne pepper to leave you with a nice tingle, but not so much that you’re frantically searching for a glass of milk. Sugar & Spice is the epitome of fall in one bite, coated in a blend of sugar, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. They can each be enjoyed as a snack on their own, but can also be used in a variety of other ways. In place of croutons, Sneaky Hot pecans will add texture and a little kick to your salad, Roasted & Salted are great mixed into your favorite brownie batter, and the Cinnamon Sugar pecans can be sprinkled on top of a heaping bowl of ice cream.
Made fresh each week in small batches in a little red cookhouse on her farm, Molly & Me’s pecans are not only gluten-free, but they are also free of additives and preservatives. Since pecans are only harvested during the small window between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, the family farm only yields about one-third of the pecans Holseberg needs to keep up with the ever-growing demand. The rest are sourced from a nearby farm in Cameron, South Carolina. The pecans are then taken to an Orangeburg mill to be cracked and blown of their shells before being frozen at the peak of freshness to ensure high-quality all year long. Based on the season and taking suggestions from the company’s loyal customer base, Holseberg still continues to experiment with new flavors. In the spring and summer, citrus flavors, including a vegan-approved orange variety, are added to the lineup.
“Right now I’m experimenting with rum- and whisky-infused pecans and a ‘slow burn’ Chex mix,” she said. “I’m still tweaking the recipes to make sure they’re just right before rolling them out in time for the holiday season.”
When asked if flavor experiments are ever a bust, Holseberg recalled her failed attempts at trying to use honey and maple syrup. What sounded like great ideas in theory, turned out to be “nothing but a big, sticky mess.” But, with an ever-present positive energy she cites those mishaps as being part of the beauty of owning her own business. As for the flavors that have made the cut, if you’re somehow able to refrain from devouring them all yourself, Molly & Me Pecans make the perfect gift for any occasion. A large shelf displays an assortment of beautifully packaged gift items covering an entire wall of the quaint Summerville shop. Customers can choose from multiple sizes ranging from 1.5-ounce glass sampler jars to pecans in bulk by the pound. For those who can’t just choose one flavor, Molly & Me Pecans also offers sampler boxes featuring five of the company’s six signature varieties.
If you’d like to share with a larger crowd, the company will cater to the needs of your wedding, special occasion or corporate event. They offer three styles of wedding bags or boxes that are ideal as favors, each adorned with a colored-ribbon of your choice to compliment your event theme. You can also request a pecan station for your event, which includes set up, serving and several different pecan flavors. For Thanksgiving, the company has partnered with a local chef to offer made-to-order desserts to accompany your turkey. A limited time offering, Bourbon Pecan Pies and Pumpkin Praline Cheesecakes can be pre-ordered by calling or visiting the shop.
With so many delectable treats to choose from, Summerville’s newest little shop on the block is certainly making a lasting impression.
By Ashley McGee