US (CA): Sales of walnut trees on the rise

The results of a recent survey by the California Department of Food and Agriculture found that there were more sales of walnut trees in 2012 than there were in the previous year. Increased acreage could be a response to robust demand for walnuts, both domestically and abroad.

The California Walnut Nursery Sales Report was released this week, and it showed an increase of 1,744 acres sold from 2011 to 2012. Sales of walnut trees to California growers were 9,566 acres in 2011, while sales of walnut trees to California growers in 2012 were 11,310 acres.

Demand for walnuts has increased over the last few years, as increasing research into the health benefits of the nut piques consumer interest, noted Dennis Balint, CEO of the California Walnut Commission.

“Demand is very strong right now,” he said on Dec. 3. “You can't overlook the fact that a lot of health research has been done on walnuts, and our market research shows that that's an important factor in choosing walnuts.”

Of new plantings, the Chandler variety accounted for the largest increase during both years, with 77.7% of new plantings consisting of Chandler walnuts in 2011 and 74.2% of new plantings in 2012.

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