The truck and I bounced over to Fiddletown today to pick up six cases of wine. I sat with Cora for a few minutes while she shelled, picked and sorted walnuts. Their walnut harvest is in, and shelling and picking will occupy most of their waking hours for the next month. The harvest should finish just before the season for selling Christmas trees.
Cora sat at her dining room table with three bowls in front of her: number one primary walnuts, number two with darker color or blemishes and bits and pieces. They harvest between 350 and 400 pounds of walnuts each year and process them entirely by hand. They tried a machine at least to shell the walnuts, but it shaved and damaged the inner kernels. Back to hand picking and sorting.
The taste of a fresh walnut was a revelation, even the bits and pieces I tried. Cora put me down for a pound.
Cora tells me that the next step in this process is to bring in the tree shaker. As you would expect, the shaker empties the trees and the walnuts are harvested from the ground. I can’t wait.