The process from planting a walnut orchard to delivering fresh walnuts to the market is very long and requires strict care, meeting safety standards and quality control. It includes steps from propagation, to harvest, to packer, and finally to market.
Harvesting takes place from August (when the drying green hulls are starting to split so the inshell walnuts can be removed) to November. The first thing to be taken care of is that the orchard floor should be swept clean. Then, mechanical shakers shake each tree from the orchard and tens of thousands of walnuts fall to the ground. These walnuts are carefully swept into windrows to allow harvester machines to pick them up. Then the cleaning process starts
The outer green husk is removed by a huller and the nut is dehydrated to the required moisture level, which is 8%. This preserves the quality of the walnut during storage. Walnuts are stored until needed for cracking.
Walnuts are transported to a packing plant where they are prepared separetely for two different markets - inshell and shelled.
Following drying, sizing of the inshell nut occurs. Different countries use different size charts.
Walnuts are removed from storage as needed and sent to the shelling department where they are cracked. Kernels are screened into a series of sizes, air-separated from shells, and moved through electronic color graders and shell sorters.
After that phase, they are hand-sorted and certified by for quality and then they are ready for packing. After being shelled, walnut kernels go through quality control which confirms that they are clean, well-dried, and of specified color. Tolerances for total and special defects are specified for each grade. Laboratory tests, both chemical and microbiological, are conducted to meet strict regulatory agency and food safety requirements.
The walnuts are produced in a wide variety of sizes, color grades and combinations of sizes and colors to meet the specifications of any industrial requirements. Commercial product meets the same high quality standards as those sold directly to the local markets.