“Legend has it that Isaac Newton came up with gravitational theory in 1665, or 1666, after watching an apple fall. He asked why the apple fell straight down, rather than sideways or even upward.” (Excerpted from National Geographic)
This time of year, our attention turns to the nutty side of the farm – WALNUT HARVEST! This is probably the least desirable job on the farm, and to be totally honest, I can’t think of a single family member who looks forward to the walnut harvest. With all of the windy weather the trees have been giving up their nuts and the ground is littered with them. I am estimating 70 five-gallon buckets of walnuts on the ground and probably that much still in the trees.
Over the last 18 years we have learned a few lessons about harvesting walnuts.
- There really isn’t a way to automate this harvest. The size of our 75-year-old trees makes any mechanical harvesting impossible, and some sort of roller that picks up nuts doesn’t work with the grass under our trees. A roller could potentially work if we were willing to kill the grass, but we aren’t!
- Start early. The walnut tree harvest favors the diligent. Initially, the husks begin to split open and then the walnuts fall to the ground. It is during this time that you can easily see and find the nuts. Next the husks will fall and then the leaves. Waiting to hunt for walnuts after the husks and leaves have fallen is time consuming and MESSY!
- When you get a sunny day, pick up as many walnuts as you can. Windy days are less desirable as the law of gravity, during the thud, thud, thud of walnuts hitting the ground, is constantly on your mind as you are harvesting.
- Walnut stain is real! We always wear farm clothes and gloves. Early on in our “get it done” early years, it would take a few months for the walnut-colored stain to fade. Always wear gloves!
- It takes almost 2 months of drying them in the greenhouse before they are ready.
- Diligence is always rewarded, especially during the walnut harvest!
Our walnut trees serve several purposes. Their primary purpose is to shade our farmhouse from the morning and evening sun during the summer months; especially appreciated this last summer. It also provides a place to hang our tree swing. And lastly, they produce copious amounts of nuts.
Look for the hand harvested, slow dried Klesick Family Farm walnuts to be available towards the end of November and then through February.
Tristan for Joelle, and the Box of Good Crew