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.