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Yields down from record 2016

California walnuts shipping for Christmas

California’s walnut harvest finished last week just before the rain and the crop is down about 10 – 15 percent depending on where the orchards are located in the state, according to Bill Carriere of Carriere Family Farms. “Harvest went smoothly this year because the weather was pretty nice during that time,” he says. 

Last year his farm saw a record year; this year their orchards were down a little over 10 percent overall. He reports Chandler, the major variety, was slightly off, but down 15 percent or more in some orchards, with Howard yielding similar to last year, and Hartley was down the most for Carriere. “Hartley specifically isn’t being planted as much anymore, and as a result they’re generally older trees so it seems to take them longer to recover from the big crops like last season.” Some of his younger Chandler orchards had nice crops. Overall the early varieties were of poor quality, particularly dark kernels or smaller sizing which won’t earn a premium price, but later varieties including Howard, Hartley and Chandler had excellent quality. 

Even though Carriere says China and Eastern Europe have also finished their harvest, China isn’t really a competitor because they consume all they produce plus they buy from California. Asia, the Middle East and Europe will be “eager to get current crop by Christmas.” 

Since he’s also a marketer, they’ll be busy shelling, cleaning and shipping walnuts from now until next September. “We’re in the busiest season now because we’re getting everything on the water or truck to the distribution center or customer for the holidays,” he says, especially with the in-shell nuts because of their seasonality with the Christmas holidays. For the shelled market they ship year-round but do heavier shipping volume during the holidays because people use them for baking, salads and other holiday cooking. They’re able to keep a steady workforce employed and busy year round. 

For more information: 
Bill Carriere 
Carriere Family Farms 
Ph: (530) 934-8200 

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