California Nut Shipments Should be Plentiful this Season

California Nut Shipments Should be Plentiful this Season

California grows and ships nearly 100 percent of the three major U.S. tree nut crops — almonds, walnuts and pistachios.

Golden State growers and shippers are reporting volume may be down on some varieties, but quality of all three is excellent. And despite fewer shipments predicted this season, there should be adequate supplies.

Mariani Nut Co. of Winters, CA sees the popularity of nuts continue to grow as consumers seek healthier snacks choices> Additional nuts are cited as being tasty and convenient. Good heart health is often linked to both almonds and walnuts.

The Almond Board of California in Modesto reports this year’s almond crop already has set a record as the state’s 7,600 almond growers will produce up to 2.5 billion pounds of almonds on 1.2 million bearing acres. This represents a light increase from last year’s production.

Almonds easily lead California’s nut shipments. Over 80 percent of the world’s almonds are grown in California, with about 70 percent of the state’s production being exported.

The almond association attributes the popularity of almonds to health/lifestyle, the growing worldwide middle class and the fact that almonds are a very stable nut with good shelf life and versatility.

The USDA reports walnuts rank second in total nut shipments. However, walnut shipments are predicted to drop around 7 percent this season from last year’s 596.7 million pounds. Sill, adequate supplies are seen.

Walnut consumption continues to increase due to desirable health benefits and the growing trend toward plant-based eating. Some observes predict consumers will likely see walnuts included on more restaurant menus and store shelves in the form of walnut ‘milks,’ plant-based meat alternatives, flours, snack items and more.

It is estimated California supplies two-thirds of the world’s walnut trade.

Nichols Farms of Hanford, CA reports pistachios are the third-ranked tree nut with 487.5 million pounds during the 2018-19 season. Even though a 20 percent drop in volume is seen this season, not shortage is predicted.

The company cites pistachios as being attractive to consumers due to the higher protein, plant-based snacks, and the flavor.