The USDA NASS California Field Office crop has confirmed expectations of the growing California walnut industry. As the 2010 harvest begins in California's Central Valley, NASS predicts the annual yield to be 510,000 short tons, demonstrating a record production that is 17% larger than 2009's crop of 437,000 and more than double the crop production from the year 2000. This year's estimate is to be confirmed in February 2011.
According to California Walnut Board member Jack Mariani, "This has been an excellent growing year—a nice wet winter and trees were strong and healthy. This estimated record crop along with the shortest carry-ins on record and vigorous consumer demand will help grow the industry."
Consumers continue to demonstrate a strong preference for walnuts. Due to the strength of clinical research supporting benefits in cardiovascular health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a qualified health claim for walnuts in 2004. (1) In addition, walnuts are the only nut that contain a significant amount (2.5 grams per ounce) of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) the plant based omega-3 essential fatty acid required by the human body.(2) Nielsen reported in 2009 that omega-3 foods bucked the recession and recorded a 42% growth last year.
"Today's consumers prefer walnuts because they know it is a high-quality food that tastes great and is packed with nutrition. That makes walnuts a good value, and a solid investment in health," explained Dennis A. Balint, Executive Director of the California Walnut Board.
California walnuts account for 99% of the commercial U.S. supply and three fourths of world trade. For more information visit www.walnuts.org.
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About California Walnuts:
The California walnut industry is made up of over 4,000 growers and over 60 handlers. The growers and handlers are represented by two entities, the California Walnut Board (CWB) and the California Walnut Commission (CWC).
California Walnut Board
The Walnut Marketing Board was established in 1948 to represent the walnut growers and handlers of California. In April 2008, the Walnut Marketing Board became the California Walnut Board to provide origin designation to the product it represents. The Board is funded by mandatory assessments of the handlers. The CWB is governed by a Federal Walnut Marketing Order. The Board promotes usage of walnuts in the United States through publicity and educational programs. The Board also provides funding for walnut production and post-harvest research.
California Walnut Commission
The California Walnut Commission, established in 1987, is funded by mandatory assessments of the growers. The Commission is an agency of the State of California that works in concurrence with the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). The CWC is mainly involved in health research and export market development activities.
The California Walnut Board (CWB) and California Walnut Commission (CWC) prohibit discrimination in all programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance programs. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact the CWB / CWC offices at (916) 922-5888. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights,1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C.20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).