A Look Inside Into How California Walnuts Get From the Tree to Your Plate

Grower Visit

Pin it button big

A few weeks ago I visited northern California with a slew of other food editors and dietitians to see the walnut harvest. This was a super fascinating trip, because while I love incorporating walnuts in my meals, I really didn't anything about them. For example, did you know that 99% of walnuts in the United States are grown in the Central Valley? And that California supplies over 60% of the trade internationally? Seriously impressive.

The walnut tour specifically focused around a visit to Alpine Specific Nut Company located near Ceres, CA. In this medium-to-large size walnut operation I got to see the entire process of how walnuts get from the tree to your plate. Here is a glimpse inside:

These are the walnuts, with the green hull, hanging on a tree:

Pin it button big

This industrial machine shakes the trees and the walnuts fall off:

Then this machine sweeps the walnuts up into neat little piles:

Pin it button big

Then this thing collects the piles of walnuts:

Pin it button big

Then you bring the walnuts to a place where they are hulled, washed, dried, and sorted.

Then the walnuts go to another facility where they are stored in bulk before being shelled:

Pin it button big

These are the walnuts being shelled:

Pin it button big

These are the walnuts that are separated from the shells:

Pin it button big

The walnuts are then packaged and sold, and you buy the walnuts and put them into delicious salads, brownies, etc.

(Image credits: Ariel Knutson)

You Might Also Like

Promoted Stories


Main, Farming, Food Media

Ariel is the Engagement Editor for The Kitchn, where she writes fun things and manages social media. She is a graduate of the International Culinary Center in New York. She lives in Brooklyn.