Black Walnuts are one of the few crops still picked by hand today. Harvesting occurs every fall when the wild Black Walnut crop is hulled, bagged and sold to a network of buying stations, or “hullers,” for Hammons Products Company. Each year, millions of pounds of nuts are purchased from approximately 215 buying locations across the United States. From start to finish—planting, harvesting and final processing—Black Walnuts are a hands-on product, making them all natural and fully sustainable. As the popularity of this wildly complex nut continues to grow, the demand for harvesters to head outside to pick up the fallen crop grows as well.
For many people across the Midwest and East-Central United States, the Black Walnut harvest every October is a tradition passed down from generation to generation.
The harvest continues to be a longstanding tradition for many, as well as an opportunity to earn extra income or raise money for a worthy organization. Whatever the reason, the only way we all get to enjoy Black Walnuts at our dinner tables is because of the hard working hands of the harvesters.
New to the harvest? Here are a few tips to get you started!
1. Find a tree or several trees with Black Walnuts. Be sure to get permission to collect nuts that aren’t from your yard (many folks are happy to let people have them).
2. Gather the nuts soon after they fall and while the hulls are mostly green. Collect them by hand or with our Nut Wizard – a handy nut-gathering tool with a long handle and barrel-like end that picks Black Walnuts up like magic! You do not need to remove the hulls.
3. Put collected nuts in bags or a truck bed for hauling.
4. Take the nuts to the nearest Hammons hulling location within a couple of days of collecting. The operator will run the nuts through a hulling machine to remove the outer green hull. You’ll be paid for the weight after hulling. NOTE: The faster you pick up and deliver the nuts to the hulling station, the better tasting the Black Walnut!
5. Enjoy extra spending money and memories made picking up Black Walnuts with your family and friends and take pride the next time you see a bag of Black Walnuts on your grocery store shelf!