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The California walnut harvest is approaching soon, and I’m looking forward to digging into the new crop. Did you know that (according to the California Walnut Board), more than 99% of the walnuts in the U.S. are grown in California’s Central Valley; and that internationally, California walnuts supply two-thirds of the world’s walnut trade?
Aside from their pure deliciousness, walnuts offer a raft of health benefits: considered a “superfood,” they contain the highest amount of alpha-linolenic acid (the plant-based omega-3 essential fatty acid) of any other nut; and they also provide a convenient and tasty source of protein, fiber and antioxidants. For more tidbits about walnuts (including their history, how they are grown, and even an enticing lineup of recipes), check out the California Walnut Board website – it’s a great resource for information about these crunchy agricultural treasures.
We are lucky to be surrounded by walnut growers in the Sacramento region, whose scrumptious product is available in stores such as the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op and Nugget Markets, as well as our neighborhood farmers’ markets. My very favorite spot to buy freshly-harvested, first-rate walnuts is at the Dewey Farms stand at the downtown Sacramento farmers’ market on Sunday mornings. The family offers both an “eating out of hand” variety and a baking variety of walnut, in addition to a delectable selection of almonds and pistachios. Start looking for this year’s crop of walnuts in early September.