Black Walnuts

Revised October, 2018.


The black walnut tree, also known as the American walnut, is native to North America. The black walnut is primarily used as the rootstock for English walnut cultivars.

California orchards produce almost 90 percent of U.S. tree nuts acres in the United States, with some acreage in Oregon. California production has remained stable since 2007, with 5,712 farms. (Fruit and Tree Nut Report, NASS, 2015)  There are no USDA statistics kept on black walnut production.

Value Added Options

Large areas of crop land in the Midwest are suited to the production of black walnut (Noweg and Kurtz 1985). Lands no longer suitable for profitable corn or soybean production often provide adequate sites for black walnut orchards.

Added markets may be but not limited to farmers markets, specialty grocery stores, wholesale purveyors, pre-packaged food processors, vegetarian food processors, ethnic markets, and restaurant food purveyors.

Harvesting Mechanization – Support Industry

The technology for the cultivation and mechanical harvesting of this crop currently exists because techniques and equipment can be easily adapted from the English walnut industry.  A well-developed market and marketing system based on seedling black walnuts is already in place and could rapidly change to accommodate thin shelled, high quality cultivars.

There are currently no available online enterprise budgets specifically for black walnuts; however, the requirements to establish and produce black walnuts are very comparable to those of English walnuts.

Enterprise budgets for English walnuts that can be applied to black walnut production:


Black Walnut, USDA
Center for Agroforestry, University of Missouri
Hammons Products Company, Stockton, Missouri, 
Heartland Nuts 'N More, Valparaiso, Nebraska
Walnut Council 
Walnut Index, University of California-Davis