Wednesday, January 06, 2010

US: Walnut sales roar back after tough 2008

California's walnut industry dove off a bridge last year, only to stage a bungee-cord rebound as it now sets sales records month after month, growers and processors report.Growers harvested a record-shattering 2008 crop of 436,000 tons, only to have the market collapse in the face of last year's global credit crisis. Demand came roaring back in the spring, however, and has remained strong since."We had 70,000 tons shipping in the month of November. The highest we ever had before was 48,000 tons," said Pete Turner, chairman of the California Independent Handlers Coalition.This year's recently completed walnut harvest is expected to top 415,000 tons, although industry insiders say the final tally might be closer to 425,000 tons. Either way, it would be California's second-largest crop ever.That, too, is having little effect on prices or demand."The world financial crisis just killed us," Turner said. "But it came back, and we moved the crop."We've almost shipped half the crop already," he added.Increases in demand are coming primarily from Turkey, China and Korea; however, other countries, such as Italy and Germany, also are purchasing record tonnage.Source: