Any farmer will tell you that one of the most anticipated times in the growing process is harvesting time. This is the time, where all the hard work gets rewarded. This is exactly true for Walnut farmers. Having healthy Walnuts during harvest time is akin to having cold hard cash in your hand. In the walnut production process, nothing beats this.
But how is this harvesting done?
We shall focus on the modern harvesting process that occurs in our modern farm in Manisa. But, first, it is important to note that Walnuts harvesting is not unlike other agricultural farm crops, depending on the nature of the crop, maturity occurs at a given time and optimum harvesting time is scientifically known.
That said, there are generally three ways of determining whether walnuts are ready for harvesting. The most scientifically reliable is the dent test. This test is performed by holding the walnut and then depressing the husk by a thumb.
When more than two-thirds of the husks dent, then the Walnut is ready for harvesting. Another way to determine, whether harvesting is ready is through use of a durometer. A durometer is an instrument that determines a material hardness. It is imperative to note that getting the right ripeness is key in the harvesting process. The rule of thumb is that walnuts should always be harvested when they are soft and green so that kernels are mature and green. To get the best sample before harvesting, get it as high as possible up the tree as this tends to ripen last.
The mechanical harvesting process
In large scale harvesting, the best way to do it is through use of a shaker. A shaker is a vehicle specifically designed to do as the name suggests. It operates by gently grabbing a tree trunk and vigorously shakes off tree resulting in thousands of nuts falling.
The next step is bringing in the sweepers. The sweepers work by sweeping the walnuts into rows which will then be collected by workers or mechanically and transferred to trailers. The collected nuts will undergo further cleaning and sorting to remove debris and other undesirable. Once desired level of cleanliness is attained, the walnuts will then be processed as either in-shell or shelled nuts.
Before storage, an important step is the removal of husks. Delay in removing of husks will result in loss of flavor and hence decline in quality. The next step is curing. Curing develops Walnuts for storage and also helps it develop the right flavor. The next step is drying the walnuts for approximately five weeks.