MORE ENGLISH WALNUT FACTS
Walnuts have been recognized
as the oldest tree food known to man, dating back to about 7000 B.C.
Considered food for the gods in the early days of Rome, walnuts were named
"Juglans regia" in honor of Jupiter. Today, they are
commonly called "English" walnuts, in reference to the English
merchant marines whose ships once transported the product for trade to
ports around the world.
California, with its mild
climate and deep fertile soils, provides ideal growing conditions for the
English walnut, producing 98% of the total U.S. commercial crop and
accounting for 2/3 of the world's trade.
The Franciscan Fathers are
credited with bringing walnuts to California from Spain or Mexico.
The first commercial planting began in 1867 when Joseph Sexton, an
orchardist and nurseryman in the Santa Barbara County town of Goleta,
planted English walnuts. For several years, walnuts were
predominantly planted in the southern areas of California, accounting for
65% of all bearing acreage.
Some 70 years after Sexton's
first planting, the center of California walnut production moved northward
to the Stockton area in one of the most dramatic horticultural moves in
history. Better growing areas, improved irrigation, and better pest
control methods in the north resulted in greater yields which gradually
increase each year.
After an orchard is planted,
it takes about six to eight years until its first yield. Once a
walnut tree has been planted and stabilized, it will continue to bear fine
quality fruit for as long as a century.
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