Our Walnut Orchard

“The absence of water, fertilizers and pesticides means less overall yield each year, but there’s a delicious trade off…”

 

Here in Paso Rtheorchard-photoobles, it is not uncommon to hear the saying “Good wine comes from good grapes”. We couldn’t agree more – we know it’s this region’s rich, chalky soils that produce world class grapes and, of course, world class organic walnuts. That’s why we take great care to use the most minimal growing methods possible and preserve the goods nature gave us.

Unlike other nut-growing regions, we strictly dry farm our walnut orchard. That means the trees are never irrigated and live off of nothing but natural rainfall. The walnut orchard is left to its own devices and produces trees that grow to a modest size compared to bigger commercial farms. The absence of water, fertilizers and pesticides means less overall crop yield each year, but there’s a delicious trade off…

Our trees embody the phrase “quality over quantity”. Rather than growing many walnuts at once, our trees have to conserve their resources by packing all those nutrients into a smaller crop. The result is a smaller number of intensely flavorful, sweet walnuts.

Roughly 40 years in the making, our walnut trees have produced years of delicious, premium nuts with nothing but rain and sunshine. Now, after more than 20 years of selling our walnuts on the wholesale market, we are thrilled to finally share them the way they were meant be: straight from our orchard to you.

View our walnuts and walnut oils in our specialty shop online or come visit us at our walnut ranch. You’ll see why people rave about our farm, and we’re sure you’ll be back for more!

Farming Methods

“Our methods produce the absolute best walnuts our orchard can possibly grow and keep the trees nice and healthy.”

Limerock Orchards

What does dry farmed mean?

Dry farmed means that our walnut orchard is never irrigated. Unlike the majority of commercial nut-growing regions, we do not have the ability or need to irrigate. This saves a substantial amount of water while forcing our trees to produce better quality fruit, but less of it. It’s a tradeoff that we are more than happy to make because the end result is highly flavorful California walnuts.

There seem to be a lot of buzz words in grocery stores, like organic and sustainable – why is dry farming any different?

Our walnut orchard hasn’t been sustainably farmed for 20 plus years because it’s hip. Our methods produce the absolute best organic walnuts our orchard can possibly grow and keep the trees nice and healthy. We believe in investing in the long-term health of our walnut orchard rather than a more intensive, profit-driven model. Especially in California, water is a truly precious resource that we work hard to conserve.

Our dry farming method, combined with our fantastic soil, packs more flavor into fewer nuts. This creates delicious, sweet California walnuts that are free from the bitter skin found on typical grocery store nuts. There’s no hype here – just undeniably delicious organic walnuts that speak for themselves.

How do you harvest the walnuts?

Our California walnuts are harvested typically between late September and late October, depending on the year. Once we get the first rain of the fall, we know the walnut orchard is close to being ready. This is when the green hulls surrounding the walnut shells begin to crack, priming the nuts to fall from the trees and be collected. After vigorously shaking the trees with a hydraulic shaking tractor, the organic walnuts are collected by hand into 50 pound sacks to be shipped of for hull removal and drying.

What varieties of walnuts do you grow?

We grow heirloom English varieties of walnuts, which include Hartley and Franquette. They are known for having light, sweet nut meats. We love the history and untainted nature of our heirloom varieties!

Should you ever wonder which you are holding, the Hartley’s have a more pointed, triangle shape to them with broad shoulders at the top. Franquette nuts are more of an oval, egg-like shape with a rounded point on each end.

How old and how large is your orchard?

The walnut orchard was planted in 1962, so it’s been around for quite awhile. It’s approximately 23 acres of trees spaced 60 feet apart from each other. This is much larger spacing than you will find in commercial operations because we have to give the trees enough room to produce organic walnuts without the help of irrigation, fertilizers or pesticides.

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