Last year we discovered that we had several black walnut trees. Round, green and brown hulled nuts covered half of the yard and were scattered throughout our surrounding woods. Now, don’t confuse black walnut with other types like English walnuts. Mostly when you buy walnuts from your local grocery you are purchasing the English variety however, black walnuts are also edible with their own distinct flavor.
We were quite excited finding so many black walnut mixed with our cedars because we already knew that black walnuts are money trees in the context of our goals of self-sustainability 🙂 Starting with the fruit, the nut is edible even though, it takes a lot of work to get into them. The shells and hulls can be used in certain natural remedies and tinctures. The hull can also be used to make a permanent dye/ink. Finally, Black Walnut lumber is highly prized. Certainly, if free from scarring and rot, our large specimens would definitely be salable.
So, upon discovering our abundance of nuts, I promptly set out looking for someone to sell them too. As it turns out, Hammons has buying locations all over the US or atleast parts of the US and there are several very near to us. I had seen a Nut Wizard at one of the hardware stores in town so we picked one up. The Nut Wizard worked quite well, you roll it on the ground and it picks up nuts (or fruit). It then comes with a little coat hangar like attachment that you put on your bucket that helps to open the roller basket and release the nuts without having to touch them. I collected a little more then 200lbs of nuts which really is only a small fraction of the amount on our land. I made something like $36. Not even enough to cover my Nut Wizard. You won’t get rich from collecting nuts. On the other hand, I never really expected to.
Here it is October first, a year later, and I’m expecting to see nuts. NO NUTS! Seriously, no nuts on our entire peninsula!! If you know anything about me, know that I MUST know! Why don’t I have nuts? In short, Walnuts produce on a two year cycle. One year the tree produces tons of flowers for next year and few nuts from last years flowers. Last year we had tons of nuts and probably few flowers so, this year no nuts. But, that answer isn’t completely satisfying, it answers for one tree but not a bunch of trees. There are no nuts on the entire peninsula! Then I remembered…
Last year, when we moved in, the peach trees were already blossoming and the bees were a buzz. A few days later we had a late frost that killed off the peach blossoms. We had no peaches last year. Aaah, my answer. Last years flowers would have produced this years nuts but, the late frost killed off my walnut blossoms too! 😦 I’m totally bummed! I was hoping to collect enough to cover my Nut Wizard purchase from last year and have nuts left over for a project I’m thinking on. 😦
Lesson: Be opportunistic! Utilize what you find when you find it because it may not be there in the future.
So, if anyone has a couple of buckets of Black Walnuts they’d like to give me… 😉