Black Walnut Harvest Survey
Did you know you could earn money harvesting black walnuts in the wild and selling them to a commercial processor?
As a wild-food forager or enthusiast, you may already know black walnuts are abundant here in many regions of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. Most people are very surprised to learn that ALL black walnuts sold in stores across the country are wild foraged, unlike its cousin the English walnut! Harvesting black walnuts is a hobby many foragers deeply enjoy every autumn. They love being in the great outdoors during the beautiful Fall weather during the black walnut harvest season, then cracking the nuts during the winter months to use as a delicious, bold and healthy ingredient in baked goods, savory dishes or as a healthy snack.
The black walnut harvest is a big tradition among hundreds of thousands of individuals in states abundant with black walnut trees such as Missouri, Indiana and Ohio. This effort occurs for four to six weeks during the Fall, typically starting in late September and going through early November. These foragers then sell the nuts as a commodity to local hulling stations who work for a commercial nut sheller.
Although northern states such as Minnesota and Wisconsin have a great number of highly productive black walnut trees, there are no local hulling stations set up to buy these nuts. Unfortunately, this natural, healthy and sustainable food source is neglected and unused in these parts of the Midwest. Gentleman Forager is spearheading a movement to change this.
For nearly a decade, GF owner Mike Kempenich and his team have been building a strong, recognized and respected brand in the mushroom industry. The company provides premium wild and specialty mushrooms and other food items for wholesale and retail sales—including black walnut products.
Currently, GF is working to potentially establish a “nutwork” of individual foragers to harvest thousands of pounds of walnuts. GF also is seeking farmers or business owners who are interested in becoming huller operators/walnut buyers. This nutwork of foragers and hulling stations would be established in southern or southeastern Minnesota, southwestern Wisconsin and northeastern Iowa—where forestry records and scouting reports indicate abundant numbers of mature black walnut trees.
Foraging for black walnuts is a great way to earn some extra money. For example, some foragers harvest and sell nuts from as little as one to three trees. This makes for a fun afternoon in the outdoors harvesting nuts and earning them enough money to go out to dinner and a movie. However, more serious harvesters target many trees which often earn them a few hundred up to a few thousand dollars during the 6-week season. The point here is having access to dozens of trees and putting in a fair amount of time allows for more earning potential.
Are you interested in earning money by foraging for black walnuts as a part of Gentleman Forager’s new Nutwork?
If so, please take the following survey. At the end of the survey, you could also enter to win a Shiitake Mushroom Log from Gentleman Forager. We will randomly select 2 of those who participate in this survey to win a prize.