The explosive growth of California’s almond crop — which recently surpassed grapes as the state’s #2 agricultural commodity — has been well documented, but the other two large tree nut crops are also blowing up.
As for pistachios, the 2012 crop numbers will not be finalized until the Administrative Committee for Pistachios tallies the shipment reports, but this year’s preliminary production number — 555 million pounds — has already surpassed the 2010 record pistachio crop of 528 million pounds. With a lot of pistachio acreage still non-bearing, there are plenty more nuts on the way.
The same can be said of walnuts, according to figures released Monday by USDA. Combined sales of walnut trees to California growers were 11,310 acres for the 2012 crop year, up nearly 2,000 acres from the 9,566 acres planted in the 2011 crop year. The numbers could have been higher. Anecdotal reports from growers indicate that they simply couldn’t source additional trees.
In terms of walnut varieties, Chandler accounted for the largest percentage of new plantings in both crop years, at 78% in 2011 and 74% in 2012. The Tulare variety came in second with 11% of the new plantings in 2011, and 13% in 2012, followed by Howard which accounted for 5% in 2011 and 8% in 2012.