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Jul 2, 2010 11:30 AM

Local source for green walnuts?

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. We've been talking about them extensively in the Nocino thread (here:

    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

      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 year (again)! At least this time I'll know where to go for sure. Thanks for the tip Carrie.

      1. re: bayareabeagle

        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. 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

        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. 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

          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. 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. 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.

            3 Replies
            1. re: suefaina

              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

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

                1. re: suefaina

                  If anyone has walnuts this year, I will take them off your hands. I have a source in Chico, but that's 3 hours away...much rather have a local source. Thank you!