Nuts, nuts and more nuts

Hella nuts!

Hella nuts!

California continues to get nuttier. Between 2007 and 2010, the state’s combined walnut and almond acreage jumped from 858,000 to roughly 967,000, and 2010’s harvest for each crop was a record rake.

But we don’t eat all those nuts. Demand from overseas seems to be driving the growth of California’s nut production. Walnut exports have climbed from 40 percent of the state’s crop in 2002 to 55 percent in 2009, according to records supplied by the California Walnut Commission in Folsom. China is buying more and more California walnuts each year—and more of our almonds, too. The current 740,000 acres of California almonds produce about 80 percent of the world’s supply.

But Glashoff Farms in Fairfield has played no part in the growth described above. The farm’s walnut trees—all 10 acres of them—are more than 100 years old, according to family farmhand Elizabeth Glashoff. The bulk of them are Franquette, a late-fall-harvest variety, and the nuts go for $2 a pound whole, $7 shelled. The Glashoffs sell walnut oil, too. And Glashoff reports that while local demand for walnuts has been steady for years, demand for the rich, smoky oil is quickly rising. The oil contains—you guessed it—antioxidants, omega acids and other essential marketing points.

Find the Glashoffs at the Central Farmers’ Market under the freeway in Sacramento on Sundays and at the Davis Farmers Market on Saturdays.