Rural System's

Walnut Vales


Within the scope of active work of The Forest Group is the concept of specialization. We shall develop a specialized central interest in the black walnut (Juglans nigra) and perhaps later, other tree species. This is a highly valued tree and grows well only on some sites. ($10/100 pounds of unhulled nuts; $13.50 per 100 pounds of hulled nuts; $2.00 per half-cup (1/4 pound?) of nuts from the grocery). The trees are often found open-grown in small valleys, thus the " vales." By knowing the characteristics of such site, locating them with the computer-mapping power of System Central, buying or leasing the acres, contracting with specific tree owners on farms and lawns, or cooperatively buying walnut crops, it will be possible to develop extensive highly productive walnut forests or productive trees as suggested in The Trevey. (There are two others , one in Rockbridge Co (Dayton) and Augusta Co (Swoope)).

Mechanical hullers are available. One is near Stickleyville, Lee County, Va. (Bill Ward's Auto Salvage Yard).

Pickers make about $15 per hour.

After hulling, nuts must be cured in stacked, shallow layers in a cool, dry well venilated place out of direct sunlight for 2 weeks. Mold may occur.

For shelling, if done, moisten nuts to keep them from shattering, put in hot tap water and soak of 24 hours, drain and soak again for another 2 hours, cover with damp colths until ready to crack shells (hammer and concrete base). Wear rubber cloves to reduce stain.

Bake nut meats at 215 degrees for 10-15 minutes before storing them.

Shells may be used in filtration systems.

Hammonds Products Company is a buyer of hulled nuts.

See University of Minnesota Extension publications.

The wood is valuable. We shall harvest walnut trees under contract. We'll process them to maximize the value. For example, a log sawn locally into furniture parts or gun stock " blanks" produces far more value to the Rural System Tract and its people than shipping whole logs to North Carolina furniture mills or to unknown users. Small amounts will be sold to The Sculptors.

We cannot depend exclusively upon tree growth for adequate profits for it is slow. The right number of acres can be amassed under contract to stabilize the harvest and money flow. A smaller but important money flow will come from harvesting nuts. Many people have walnut trees. Few people use the nuts because they are difficult to prepare. Few know about commercial nut-meat producers. We can unify the small producers (as well as increase the number and rate of growing trees on contract land).

By planting trees at optimal spacing, maximum total long-term value (not necessarily maximum nut production or clear wood) can be gained, with spacing traded off between the worth of volume added to the tree bole and nutmeats and products.

Literature, contract work, developing models, genetic improvement, and exploring secondary uses of nut mets, the toxic nut hulls and tree bark, and excellent pasturage are all part of the proposed system, this forestry specialty.

A market exists for walnut shells used in burnishing operations in metal working prior to plating and finishing.

Idea: Develop sledding areas for plastic sleds with a hull or ground hull base.

One idea to be explored is to explode hulls under heat and pressure (a 1999 Virginia Tech process). Liquid extraction of toxins from this substance (along with grape seed waste) may be used along trail and roadsides to develop specialized plant communities without using petrochemicals. These walnut areas are also designed with barriers as stream flood control areas. A regional center (office, lab, and library) of interest and expertise can be created.