Folsom, California — The USDA NASS California Field Office recently released the annual crop estimate for walnuts, predicting the annual walnut yield to be 485,000 short tons. Slightly lower than last year's record breaking crop of 503,000 short tons, the 2011 estimate suggests the second largest crop on record and will be confirmed in February 2012.
According to California Walnut Commission Chairperson Charles Crain, "We are delighted not only with the crop size but also with the high quality kernels we are expecting thanks to the mild spring and summer weather. This excellent crop will help us continue to meet the growing consumer demand for nutritious walnuts both domestically and around the world." California walnuts account for 99 percent of the commercial U.S. supply and 78 percent of world supply. In the past year, approximately 40 percent of available product was shipped domestically and 60 percent was shipped to export markets, making California walnuts the fifth largest California export. Since 2002, domestic shipments have increased 24 percent.
"People have made eating walnuts a part of their daily routine because they are convenient, taste good and offer proven health benefits," says Dennis A. Balint, executive director of the California Walnut Board. "With 45 scientific studies published over the past 18 years, the health benefits of walnuts have extended well beyond cardiovascular health. Recently published studies show walnuts may be beneficial for stress management (1), cognitive function (2) and cancer risk reduction (3)."
Walnuts are a nutrient dense whole food, and the only nut that contain a significant amount (2.5 grams per ounce) of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3 essential fatty acid required by the human body as well as antioxidants, protein and fiber.(4)
For more industry information, health research and recipe ideas, visit the website of the California Walnut Board and the California Walnut Commission.
The California walnut industry is made up of more than 4,600 growers and more than 70 handlers. The growers and handlers are represented by two entities, the California Walnut Board (CWB) and the California Walnut Commission (CWC).
The Walnut Marketing Board was established in 1948 to represent the walnut growers and handlers of California. In April 2008, the Walnut Marketing Board became the California Walnut Board to provide origin designation to the product it represents. The Board is funded by mandatory assessments of the handlers. The CWB is governed by a Federal Walnut Marketing Order. The Board promotes usage of walnuts in the United States through publicity and educational programs. The Board also provides funding for walnut production and post-harvest research.
The California Walnut Commission, established in 1987, is funded by mandatory assessments of the growers. The Commission is an agency of the State of California that works in concurrence with the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). The CWC is mainly involved in health research and export market development activities.
The California Walnut Board and Commission offices are located at 101 Parkshore Drive, Suite 250, Folsom, CA 95630.
(1) West SG, Krick AL, Klein LC, Zhao G, Wojtowicz TF, McGuiness M, Bagshaw DM, Wagner P, Ceballos RM, Holub BJ, Kris-Etherton PM. Effects of diets high in walnuts and flax oil on hemodynamic responses to stress and vascular endothelial function. J Am Coll Nutr. 2010 Dec;29(6):595-603.
(2) Please note this was an animal study. Lauren M. Willisa1, Barbara Shukitt-Hale, Vivian Cheng and James A. Joseph. Dose-dependent effects of walnuts on motor and cognitive function in aged rats. British Journal of Nutrition (2009), 101: 1140-1144.
(3) Please note this was an animal study. Hardman WE, Ion G, Akinsete JA, Witte TR. Dietary Walnut Suppressed Mammary Gland Tumorigenesis in the C(3)1 TAg Mouse. Nutr Cancer 2011 Jul 20.
(4) Please note: One ounce of walnuts provides 18g of total fat, 2.5g of monounsaturated fat, 13 g of polyunsaturated fat, including 2.5 grams of alpha linolenic acid - the plant based omega-3; 2g of fiber; 4g of protein, 3.68 mmol/28 g of antioxidants. According to the National Agricultural Library.