Black walnut harvest season returns to the Ozarks

Good yield expected despite past weather
Good yield expected after wet spring and dry summer
Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 10:34 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - A tradition for generations of families returned once again to the Ozarks.

The black walnut harvest season kicked off on Monday for black walnut fans. Hammons Black Walnuts is looking forward to the expected yield this season. Alan Stauffacher, Procurement Manager for Hammons, says the company is enticing residents to participate with a selling price of $20 per 100 pounds after hulling.

“If we get a good harvest as we hope, we might lower the price,” says Stauffacher. “We just to encourage as many people as possible to get those nuts in.” Stauffacher also adds that the buying period for walnuts will continue for six weeks, with the peak of the season being the second to the third week of October. Once the middle of November comes around, the buyback will come to an end.

Brian Hammons, President of Hammons Black Walnuts, says that while they’re open to any black walnuts, he offers some tips for searching out good black walnuts.

“We do encourage folks to bring them in when they’re mostly green, not a lot of black, and not too mushy,” says Hammons. “They’ll be at the best quality at that time, and people will find that they’ll be paid the highest price possible at that time as well.”

After weathering a wet spring and drought for a good part of the summer, Hammons is encouraged about the expected crop yield. “The drought during the summer was a little bit of a concern,” he states. “However, the trees have deep roots and were able to get down deep to where that moisture was underground. We had a little bit of rain in August, and that was refreshing. That seemed to help a little bit. So, we’re hopeful that the nuts will yield well and the nut meat will fill out well.”

For those that collect black walnuts and want them hulled and sold, Stauffacher states that there are many locations across the Ozarks ready to collect on that supply, from area farmers to local restaurants and school districts. “We have Amish. We have Mennonite. We have farmers. We have small business owners. We have a variety of people that might have a little downtime in the fall, and it’s seasonal, says Stauffacher. “If they got the will, we’ve got a way to get them in.”

For area locations ready to have black walnuts hulled and sold, Hammons Black Walnuts has an interactive site where residents can enter their zip code and have their nearest location listed.

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