Walnut History

The “Royal Nut”, walnuts are the oldest tree food known to man, dating back to 7000 B.C. The Romans called walnuts Juglans Regia, “Jupiter’s royal acorn.” Early history indicates that English walnuts came from ancient Persia, where they were reserved for royalty. Thus, the walnut is often known as the “Persian Walnut.” Walnuts were traded along the Silk Road route between Asia and the Middle East. Caravans carried walnuts to far off lands and eventually through sea trade, spreading the popularity of the walnut around the world. English merchant marines transported the product for trade to ports around the world and they became known as “English Walnuts.” England, in fact, never grew walnuts commercially. The outer shell provided a natural protective layer helping to maintain the quality of the nut. Today the nut trade continues to be a well-established, ordered, and structured business, and the California walnut is well known as the top quality walnut for the world.

The California Walnut Board, established in 1948, and the California Walnut Commission, established in 1987, represents the interests of the 4800+ walnut growers and the nearly 100 handlers spread across California’s Central Valley. The industry generates over $1 billion in farm gate revenue and supports some 85,000 jobs directly and indirectly.

Growing And Processing

Every step from bullying to processing and finally sale is carried out with great care by the more than 4,800 walnut growers, mostly multi-generational, family farms and nearly 100 handlers.

How To Grow Walnuts

 A walnut travels a long way from the planted tree to delivery at the nearest market, fresh and tasty. With walnuts from California, you can find solid food quality and safety standards that are closely followed by the California walnut industry from orchard to table.

Walnut production requires commitment and patience, and the orchards are dedicated to walnut production only. Once walnut saplings have been planted, it will take five to seven years for the tree to come into full production. While many walnut varieties are grown in California, 85% of the production is distributed in six varieties: Chandler, Hartley, Howard, Tulare, Serr and Vina.


Harvest starts at the end of August and continues until the end of November when the outer green hulls begin splitting signaling the walnuts have ripened and are ready for harvest. First, the orchard floor is cleaned by sweeping. Then, each tree is shaken vigorously by shaking machines, and thousands of walnuts are dropped. In order for the harvesting machines to collect the fruits for cleaning, the walnuts are swept into rows for mechanical pick up.


Any of the remaining hulls are removed then the walnuts, still in their protective shells are cleaned and dried to an ideal moisture level of 8%.The walnuts are then stored in a cold storage until ready for shipping as whole walnuts or mechanically cracked to remove the shells for shipping as halves, chopped, diced or other sizes that meet customer specifications.

California Walnuts Solid Quality Control Standards

California walnuts are produced with stringent quality controls that meet or exceed both Federal and State of California standards. Many superior technologies are being used throughout the process to present the best quality walnuts to consumers. If you are interested in finding or contacting a supplier, please refer to the list below.

Link to Handlers List – https://walnuts.org/walnut-industry/handler-list/