Here it is – the first Black Walnut Crop Update for the 2018 Harvest season!
We’ve been watching the trees closely since April, as they sprang to life with leaves and
new growth while adding nut “flowers” that were pollinated and developed into nuts.
The nuts became more visible as they grew, until by July we could tell whether a tree
would produce many this year. We travelled extensively through the 15 state buying
region, especially Missouri which usually produces 65% of the harvest. And we talked
with hulling station operators all over, along with others involved in agriculture to
understand many views of how the 2018 crop was developing.
So now, we can comfortably predict that the Fall 2018 harvest of wild black walnuts will
be – (drum roll) – well, it really depends upon the weather in October. Because with a
wild crop of Black Walnuts, the harvest completely depends upon thousands of people
getting out to pick up the nuts in yards and fields where they grow. We need nice, mild
or cool days, with not too much rain – especially on weekends.
That said, we really do see a decent crop on the trees in much of southern Missouri, from
Stockton to West Plains (including Springfield). Other areas, including eastern states like
Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio, have a moderate crop but not as big as last year. So at this
time we’re expecting that somewhere between 17 million and 22 million pounds could be
harvested. Call it about 19 million. That’s down from last year’s abundant 31 million
pounds, but near the average of 23. And it will be plenty to keep our customers supplied
with bold-flavored Black Walnut nutmeats through 2019.
So now, we’re just about ready with 225 plus hulling stations. Keep watching this
column for updates as we get into the harvest. Buying starts October 1!