We have a big old walnut tree in the back yard. It been there for close to 100 years. Every year it dumps thousands of walnuts off of the ground and we pick them up and put them in buckets. Some dude comes and picks them up.
In my quest to explore options of making money off of the land that comprises the yard and is about 1.75 acres, selling the walnuts popped into my head last year so I started collecting them little by little.
Bucket after bucket was filled. Any empty container that I could find became full. Finally I started using the truck and after a few weeks, the truck was full. Time to go sell them.
As it turns out, the black walnut market ( as opposed to the legit one, I suppose) is dominated by Hammonds in the midwest. California is the largest producer of walnuts in the US, contributing 99% of all walnuts grown in the US and 38% worldwide. Hammonds has several hundred buying stations around the midwest, and there happens to be one about 15 miles away from our house.
So I take my full truckload of walnuts that I probably have spent 20-30 hours collecting to the walnut buying station. I’m required to shovel all of the walnuts out of the truck into a hopper that takes off the shell and bags them up.
My back is nearly broken in two when I’m done, but the satisfaction of doing all of this is strong and the reward is forthcoming. As the nut collector pulls out his checkbook and starts to write, he says “Well, that was about 560 pounds, so let me see here” as he clacks on his calculator. He hands me the check and it’s written for $45. I nearly shit myself. $1.50 per hour for that.
So what does a pound of black walnuts cost at the store? Around $12. So. Of that $12, 8 cents is what goes the farmer. That just pisses me off and leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
I’m having peanuts on my ice cream tonight.