Orchard Origins

Did you know 99% of the walnuts in the United States are grown in California? It’s a long road from planting a walnut orchard to harvest to delivering fresh, delicious walnuts straight to your local grocery store. And it’s quite likely the walnuts you enjoy at home as a snack or in one of your favorite recipes, come from one California’s multi generational family farmers.

Have you ever wondered about the walnut growing process? Harvest begins in the first weeks of September and comes to an end at the beginning of November each year. Farmers know it’s time to harvest when they see the walnuts’ outer green hulls drying and starting to split, allowing them to remove the walnuts from inside.

Each step of the harvest is handled with great care and attention. As summer draws to a close, preparation for harvest begins with the orchard floors being swept clean, clearing away debris to allow for mechanical shakers to be driven in to shake each mature tree. The fallen walnuts are then swept into windrows to be gathered. Once collected, the walnuts are cleaned, husked from their green outer shells by a huller, and mechanically dehydrated, which protects the nuts during storage.

At this point the walnuts go into one of two categories, shelled or inshell. Inshell walnuts are separated by size then washed. Walnuts for shelled product go into a cracker where the hard outer shell is removed. The kernels are then sorted by laser for size and color as well as removal of any shell remnants. Finally, they are inspected by the highest standards of quality before being shipped off to store shelves, eventually ending up in your kitchen to be incorporated into your latest dish.

Below are some of our favorite harvest season recipes for inspiration!

For optimum freshness store walnuts in your refrigerator in an airtight plastic container if you plan to use them within a month. Store walnuts in the freezer for up to one year. They can be enjoyed directly out of the freezer.

For inspiration, here are some of our favorite Fall inspired recipes:

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