Monday, August 17, 2009


R.L. “Pete” Turner August 16, 2009


The California Walnut Handlers have announced their 2009 crop “subjective” estimate at 399,000 tons. The official “objective” crop forecast from CASS will be announced first week of September.

July shipments of 27,502 tons (inshell eqv.) makes seven straight months of record distribution for the walnut industry. Inshell shipments have slowed somewhat but the Shelled material continues to move at record levels.

A small amount of the USDA School Lunch material shipped during this period; however, the bulk of this tonnage (shelled) will be shipped between August and December.

California Walnut Shipment Recap

Month (July) 2007/08 Year to Date 2008/09 Year to Date Difference (YTD)

Inshell Pounds (000) -170 118,706 1,366 173,171 54,465 (49%)
Shelled Pounds (000) 13,581 227,180 23,171 257,218 30,038 (13%)
Total (Inshell eqv. tons) 15,781 324,750 27,502 384,291 59,541 (18%)

This year’s YTD shipment of 384,291 tons (inshell equivalent) is 18 percent more than last year; and I expect that August will be another record shipping month for the industry.
As noted last month, I anticipate some confusion on the 2008 crop carry-over number. My walnut shipment model shows we will have a 57,000 ton carry in from the 2008 crop. This is based on the official California Walnut Board’s “shell-out rate” of 43.2 percent. However, industry leaders believe the CWB will adjust the “shell-out-rate” to a higher number, possibly adding 15,000 to 20,000 tons to the carry in. I believe the CWB will announce the revised “shell-out rate” in early September.
As noted above, the Packers have set their 2009 crop “subjective” estimate at 399,000 tons, 35,000 tons less than last year. They are also projecting the Chandler crop at 152,000 tons, 25,000 tons less than last year and the Hartley’s at 57,000 tons, about the same as last year. The early varieties tonnage should be down considerably from the 2008 crop.
It is still a little early but so far, most of the growers are anticipating excellent quality and larger than average nut size. They also believe the crop will be a few days earlier than last year and expect to start harvest of the early varieties the first and second weeks of September.


Everyone in the industry will be watching the Pacific Rim countries (Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and Taiwan) to see if they will continue at record levels they set for the 2008 crop. As an example, so far the industry has shipped 29.9 millions pounds of Inshell compared to 1.6 million last year. They are also ahead of last year for Shelled material with 46.3 million pounds shipped to date, compared to 34.4 million last year.

The Middle East (Egypt, Israel, Turkey, U.A.E.) are also at record pace with Inshell at 37.3 million pounds (18.2 million last year) and Shelled at 15.8 million pounds compared to 7.1 million pounds last year.

Europe is slightly ahead of last year on both Inshell (73.4 million pounds) and Shelled (32.4 million pounds).

It is too early to predict if these market will keep pace with last year, but early enquiries are much more active than in the past, so it’s possible this market will remain strong.

Except for some early 2009 crop bookings, the current markets is quite, but expect heavier activity toward the last half of the month. Early shipments of Inshell (2008 crop) will start hitting the docks and the USDA School Lunch Program will be in full swing. So, I have no doubt that August will be another record shipping month for the industry.

Inshell material is basically gone and except for some Combination inventories, most of the Chandler and Light material have been sold off. The last I heard was Jumbo Hartley’s were still in the $1.20 range and Light Halves and Pieces between $2.40 and $2.55. Also, for what ever it is worth, I believe opening prices will be at or very near these levels.

Please let me know if you have any questions or comment.



Forget your diet and try this one:

3/4 c. old fashioned rolled oats
3/4 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into bits & softened
1 c. walnuts, toasted lightly, cooled & chopped
3 lb. Gravenstein or other tart apples, peeled & sliced
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp. sugar
Combine the flour, the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Add the bits of butter to this mixture and blend until it resembles coarsely ground meal. Stir in the walnut bits.
In another bowl, toss the apple slices with the lemon juice and sugar. Turn the apple mixture into a buttered 10 inch pie pan and cover the fruit evenly with the topping mixture. Bake the crisp in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. Serve with a scoop of caramel ice cream.
Serves 8.