STOCKTON, Mo. – The annual Black Walnut Harvest is upon us with hulling stations officially opening up across the Midwest on Tuesday, Oct. 1.
Hammons Products Company’s network of hullers will be paying a higher opening price than last year: $16 per 100 pounds after hulling ($15 for locations east of the Mississippi River) to individuals or groups who bring their freshly fallen Black Walnuts to one of about 225 hulling sites in 13 states.
Harvesters are encouraged to pick up the wild nuts while still green (not black and mushy or dried) and get them to a hulling station 1-2 days after picking them up. This helps ensure the nuts weigh the most with better quality. To find a hulling station near you, visit www.black-walnuts.com.
Early projections of the harvest are mixed. “This year’s crop of wild Black Walnuts looks to be better in Central Missouri and east of the Mississippi,” says Brian Hammons, President of Hammons Products in Stockton, Missouri. “While some trees in southern Missouri don’t have as many nuts this year, we’re beginning to see more in several spots and hope the weather cooperates so folks can get them in. We’re hoping for a harvest of 22 million pounds with this alltime highest price.”
Every year thousands of people participate in the harvest tradition with their friends and family, picking up the Black Walnuts off their own land, or possibly the land of their neighbors (with permission). “Some folks picked up Black Walnuts when they were young and continue to pass along the lessons of nature, good work ethic and resourcefulness to their grandchildren,” says Hammons. “The Midwest is the only place in the world where Black Walnuts are collected and sold on a large scale, so it’s something that is very unique and special to these rural communities.”
Buzz for wild grown foods and plant-based proteins has been increasing in the global food market. With the highest protein of all nuts, wild Black Walnuts continue to grow in popularity. Chefs, dietitians, and “foodies” exhibit growing interest in the nut’s natural bold flavors and significant health benefits.