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Local source for green walnuts?

bayareabeagle Jul 2, 2010 11:30 AM

Every year I promise myself I will try to make vin de noix, a red wine and green walnut liqueur, but it seems like something always gets in the way. Well, this year nothing got in the way...except my forgetfulness! Most of the mail-order sources I've seen indicate that their walnuts are ready in late June, and here it is already July.

I would prefer to buy locally in any case, but my tardiness creates an even greater need for a local source. Either farms or farmers' markets are fine. I am willing to travel to find them, probably as far north to Napa/Sonoma or Sacramento, or south to about Gilroy.

Has anyone seen any green walnuts? Thanks!

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  1. CarrieWas218 RE: bayareabeagle Jul 2, 2010 03:11 PM

    We've been talking about them extensively in the Nocino thread (here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3048...).

    I got my from Alfieri at the Civic Center Farmer's Market, but that was almost a month ago and I would hazard to guess you have already missed the window. If you find them now, they will undoubtedly already have started forming their shell and be practically impossible to cut open.

    Now that happened to me three years ago and I had to physically drill into each one and then hack them open with a hammer. My nocino that year was not nearly as good.

    2 Replies
    1. re: CarrieWas218
      bayareabeagle RE: CarrieWas218 Jul 2, 2010 04:11 PM

      I can't believe I've completely missed that thread! I don't follow the Spirits board at all.

      Maybe I'll go visit the Alfieri booth at the Ferry Building tomorrow and talk to them about the condition of the walnuts.

      If not...next year (again)! At least this time I'll know where to go for sure. Thanks for the tip Carrie.

      1. re: bayareabeagle
        bigwheel042 RE: bayareabeagle Jul 2, 2010 04:33 PM

        I specifically asked the vendor who had them at the Alemany Farmer's Market last week about them and she said they'd have them at least another couple of weeks. No idea if the quality will still be as good as previous weeks though.

    2. bayareabeagle RE: bayareabeagle Jul 3, 2010 11:22 AM

      Following up in case there are other late green walnut seekers out there!

      The vendor at the Alemany Market did have them. She is right in the middle of the market (in the second row by the crosswalk that leads in from the parking lot). They are $3.00 a pound.

      They are not soft to the touch (not sure if they're supposed to be), but upon getting them home I was able to halve them pretty easily with a sharp-ish knife. No hammer or drills needed.

      There were certainly some in the vendor's box that had a round spot on one end that looked like an emerging walnut shell, and I avoided those when choosing...not sure if there was any point to that, but I thought I'd mention it just in case.

      Since I was able to cut them open, I'm going to go ahead with a trial batch. Certainly not ideal, but I figure it will be good experience for next year!

      Thanks a ton to bigwheel. :)

      1 Reply
      1. re: bayareabeagle
        bigwheel042 RE: bayareabeagle Jul 18, 2010 10:34 PM

        No problem. I ended up doing the same and buying a few on Saturday...they are borderline too late at this point, I think, with obvious nutmeat formed in the middle of all of them, but with some effort I was able to cut them up into chunks with a knife. We'll see how it turns out...

      2. f
        Fig Newton RE: bayareabeagle Jul 7, 2010 05:40 PM

        They were available today from DeSantis Farm (Fresno) at the Civic Center Farmers Market. $3.00/pound. DeSantis also goes to the San Rafael Sunday market, not sure what other markets. They are located at the East end of the CC market, also sell stone fruit, citrus, figs.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Fig Newton
          Melanie Wong RE: Fig Newton Jul 7, 2010 08:54 PM

          DeSantis sells at the Saturday morning market in Santa Rosa at the Vets building. Last week they brought unripe grapes for pickling. The stand is smaller in Santa Rosa than at the San Francisco markets, so it's best to call ahead to ask them to bring specialty items if you want them.

        2. t
          TropiCal RE: bayareabeagle Jul 7, 2010 10:39 PM

          Our walnuts are bathing in a pool of eau de vie since Sunday's harvest. It's still not too late. They were quite easy to cut. Maybe another week, and the shell will harden.

          Ever since our first batch three years ago, we've been on the lookout for healthy walnut trees in our neighborhood. Mature walnut trees are plentiful in the Peninsula, and ours were foraged from a Palo Alto park this year.

          1. s
            suefaina RE: bayareabeagle Jul 10, 2011 01:00 PM

            Hi! We are in Clayton (near Concord) in theEast Bay and we have a Green Walnut tree about 20 feet tall packed with fruit!! If you still are interested, let me know. I actually just last night offered them to my cousin, but I haven't heard back yet. She also has trees on her property in Gold Country. So it's possible she doesn't need/want anymore.

            2 Replies
            1. re: suefaina
              alphabether RE: suefaina Jun 18, 2013 12:47 PM

              Hello, I found your post through a google search. I'm making Vin Du Noix and I am short on green walnuts. Is there any chance I can pick some from your tree assuming you still live there? I'm happy to pick for you in exchange for some walnuts.

              (I created a Chow account in order to contact you and I hope this works. The photo is me and my dog-- he's a lot cuter than me so you get a better shot of him!)

              1. re: alphabether
                suefaina RE: alphabether Jun 18, 2013 01:47 PM

                You can have all you want! Our tree is FULL!! We are in Clayton. Call me when you want them. (925) 286-3118

            2. c
              cecig RE: bayareabeagle Jul 22, 2011 12:20 AM

              We have them and, due to the cooler temperatures this year, they are still easy to cut through. We are out in the Delta on Sherman Island, but come in to the Ferry building every Thursday so I can bring them then if anyone needs green walnuts for Nocino.

              1. b
                bigwheel042 RE: bayareabeagle Aug 17, 2011 02:44 PM

                Is it possible that walnut trees in SF are still producing fruit in mid-August? I was up in Corona Heights yesterday and saw what sure looked like an English walnut tree, full of large green fruit. A google image search seemed to confirm it. It was too far away for me to get a close look, but if it's possible for the season to be so late in the city, maybe I'll start thinking about a second, local batch of nocino this year...

                3 Replies
                1. re: bigwheel042
                  CarrieWas218 RE: bigwheel042 Aug 17, 2011 03:20 PM

                  Considering how cool this summer has been, it wouldn't surprise me in the least...

                  1. re: CarrieWas218
                    suefaina RE: CarrieWas218 Aug 25, 2011 03:44 PM

                    What do all of you use them for? My family (Italian) used to make Nucillo which was a liquer. I always hated it. But my grandmother swore it was the cure for any stomach ailments. I would love to find a use for them since my tree produces so many.

                    1. re: suefaina
                      CarrieWas218 RE: suefaina Aug 25, 2011 06:23 PM

                      We are making Nocino, yes and the French version, Vin de Noix.

                      And we love it!

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