This section doesn’t currently include any content. Add content to this section using the sidebar.

Image caption appears here

Add your deal, information or promotional text

Black Walnuts How to Collect and Harvest Them to Sell to Hulling Stations

  • 6 min read

Collecting and Selling Black Walnuts

There is a crop of Black Walnuts this year.  Less than normal, but still enough to provide an opportunity for you, your kids, your 4-H Club, or church group to earn some cash.  And of course I recommend you get a large nut wizard to help with the job.

Cleaning up black walnuts is work, and often dirty.  The fall weather is beautiful, plus we all need to get outside and away from the worries of the world.  Even though you won't earn much, you'll have priceless moments with your family and a little cash to spend.

Black Walnut Hulling Stations:

Discover a harvest and Hulling Station near you by clicking here

Each year, Hammons Products Company of Stockton Missouri, provides machines to over 200 buying stations.  Check their website (linked above) for where you could sell your black walnuts.

Below is information about collecting and selling black walnuts.

What to do with Black Walnuts: Selling

Are there black walnuts in your yard?

It is amazing how many thousands of black walnuts can grow on a tree. When you look up into the tree and see ping pong to tennis ball size walnuts hanging there, you know you could soon have twisted ankles, dents in the car, lawn mower propelled nuts, or thumps in the night on the roof.

In September, October, and November look out!  The Black Walnut trees drop nuts over a 6 to 8 week period.  In Indiana I’ve noticed that October 10th is a good time to expect a heavy drop of nuts.   For about 14 years my family and I ran a Black Walnut Hulling Station. Over that period of time we handled more than 1 million pounds of Black Walnuts.  Our smallest year was about 11,000 pounds; our biggest 396,000 pounds (that’s 9 semi-truck trailer loads, in case you are wondering).

I recommend that you obtain a Large Nut Wizard for black walnut pick up.  I love these tools because it is easier to do the work. I can work longer and pick up more in the same amount of time.  For a few to several trees a Nut Wizard can handle the job.  We have 20 trees we pick up under with one Large Nut Wizard.  It is easier to clean them up at least once a week.  For light crop years I wait until most nuts have fallen.  The Nut Wizard Large sized tool picks up the green,
black, and mushy ones.  For run over “fried egg” looking ones, rock the tool patiently or kick it out with your foot. If you need a new Nut Wizard visit our products page

Black Walnut Selling and Hulling Station Information

Many hard working men, women, teens, and youth groups clean yards, cemeteries, school yards, parks, woods, and farm lots to take truck
loads upon truck loads to a black walnut hulling station.  It is incredible how many MILLIONS of pounds of black walnuts there are in the United States!  The Hammons Products Company in Stockton, Missouri has purchased 15 to 30 million pounds in a good crop year.  Just think how many more there are not picked up or picked up and used in a different way.  A link to black walnut hulling stations close to the bottom of this note.

Want to sell Black Walnuts?

You will want to make as few trips as possible and take as many black walnut nuts as you can in a trip.  The stations are open on their own schedules, so call before you go to get the details for hours and if they work during rainy days.  If they don’t have cover, the machine gets wet and slippery.

 Collecting your black walnuts is the first job you have to do before going to the Black Walnut Hulling Station.  You can pick up nuts by hand, Nut Wizard tools, or Bag A Nut tools.  I recommend USA made tools.

 The three best ways to store your nuts are pick-up trucks with beds, trailers with sides, or buckets.  The big difference is that you will need to shovel, (take your own), the loose walnuts into the machine if they are loose.   The advantage is the quantity and ease.  More walnuts will fit in a truck loose than in buckets.  Shoveling is harder than emptying buckets.  Bagging black walnuts and putting them in the truck or trailer works too.  The bags (depending on how heavy they are) could be easier to unload than loose black walnuts and the truck can hold more in bags than buckets.

Five Gallon Buckets hold in the juice and have convenient handles. It takes lots of buckets per truck.

Plastic sacks and bags from grocery stores are a no-no.  They are too flimsy to hold the heavy and messy black walnuts.  You are sure to bust the bags and get dirty.

Trash bags are iffy.  If you use heavy duty bags, (no kitchen light weights!), only put in 5 gallons or about 25 pounds.  Too much weight will bust out the bag.

Feed sacks made from burlap are sturdy and heavy.  They are good, except that the juice from the black walnuts will ooze out and handling them is messy.  Filled up, they could weigh 100 pounds or more.

Feed sacks made of nylon or plastic are good.  They can still leak, but not as much as burlap.  They can be heavy also.

Dog and animal food sacks are sturdy and frequently have a plastic or coated liner that will prevent the juice from soaking through—but only for the short term!  As the black walnut husk breaks down, the sack will get wetter and wetter. After a while the bottom can break out—with mushy black results.

Plastic milk style crates work okay.  As the sides are not solid, leaks and loose walnuts could occur.

How does the black walnut station work?

When going to the Black Walnut Hulling Station, please check the dates and times the station is open.  If there is a large crop of black walnuts, be prepared for a line and wait.  Each vehicle will take a turn backing into the machine area.  You could find the station in a field, barn, or business parking lot.  There might not be a restroom, drinks, or shade.  Remember this is a seasonal business.

Take with you; a shovel if the walnuts are loose, waterproof or vinyl covered gloves to help keep you clean, wipes to clean your hands off or for primitive bathroom facilities, drinks, and maybe a snack.  Plan to enjoy visiting with fellow walnut collectors and sellers.  It will feel like a community or family event.  I encourage you to do this at least once.  It is something you will likely always remember.

Black Walnut hulling stations have big machines that remove the soft outer green or black husk.  The machine separates the nuts from the husk using a tire or chain driven system.  There is a short conveyor that pulls the nuts into the hopper or drops them into the cleaning mechanism. Then the chain or tire removes the husk from the nut.   It is surprising how clean they come out!  The nuts are bagged and weighed.

The hulling station will pay for the weight of the nuts only.  On average 60 percent of each walnut is husk.  Forty percent is the shell and nut meat.  How do we know?   I weighed and tested it when we ran a black walnut buying station—many times.  We needed the information to help our customers know how much weight they were putting into their pick-up trucks, cars, and trailers.  For example, if you were paid for 500 pounds of Black Walnut nuts, you had approximately 1,250 pounds of whole black walnuts in your truck to start with.  I saw many overloaded pick-up trucks, and one truck bed breakdown.  It is worth
thinking about.

I haven't found the 2020 price, for 2017 you could be paid as much as $15 per 100 pounds of Black Walnut nuts (not the husk).  For the example above, you would be paid $45 for the 500 pounds of husked nuts.  On average it takes 2 walnuts to make one ounce of shell and nut meat.  So, 32 nuts could make one pound, or $0.15 worth at the hulling station.  A full 5 gallon sized bucket has a gross weight of about 25 pounds and nets 8 to 10 pounds of nuts, worth approximately a dollar to $1.50 after hulling.  It doesn’t take long to add up to a
significant amount.  Especially when earning some extra income.  You could charge for cleaning up a yard then sell the walnuts.

It is common that you will receive a check after the black walnuts are husked and weighed.  You might need to provide ID or a driver’s license. You could get a hand written check or cash.  If you sell more than $600 of walnuts, you could be asked for more information to comply with tax rules for a 1099 form.

Prices can change depending on supply and demand.  Don’t procrastinate!

Black Walnut Hulling Stations:

Discover a harvest and hulling station near you by clicking here

Want to keep the Black Walnuts?  Some stations will husk the walnuts for a reasonable charge.  It is much easier and quicker than husking them yourself.  Then you will be ready to dry and crack them.  Black walnuts have a stronger flavor than soft-shelled English walnuts.  The Black Walnuts are delicious in baked goods, ice-cream, and my favorite, chocolate fudge.  (Yummmmy)

Another Place to Sell Black Walnuts:

State and Local Nurseries and Departments of Natural Resources

Many state nurseries will contract with local citizens to provide Black Walnuts for tree seed.  You should contact your local office and ask for details.  They will issue permits or contracts to individuals. Each group will have their own rules. Sometimes it will take awhile before you are paid.