Shelling Out More for Black Walnuts
The Hammons Products company of Stockton raised the price to encourage more pickers to gather more nuts to meet increased demand.
"You'd be surprised how many of them are along the road," added Wendt. "Just stop at the roadside and pick them up."
Luckily, pickers don't have to shell them by hand.
"You dump into your hopper, the elevator takes it up where it goes inside the machine," explained huller Judy Hutchinson. "There is a round spool that has several little chains inside and, when it spins, it actually beats the hulls off the nuts."
Prairie Home's Country Rhodes gas station is one of several hulling locations that are ready for a busy season. Country Rhodes expects its lot to be full of truckloands of walnuts by this weekend. Missouri's harvest totalled 20 million pounds last year.