In the early 1800s, Sara Carr acquired 80 acres in the Adelaida Hills of Paso Robles, California. Sara hired Portuguese laborers who were paid 80 dollars an acre to clear the land by hand and horse power. The first almond trees were planted and the ranch did well for years. The “Sara Carr Eighty” changed hands over the years with walnut trees gradually replacing the aging almond trees. The walnut orchard was well-established in the 1960s and was always dry farmed. By 1987, the mature trees netted 10 tons for every 20 acres.
The Importance of Dry Farming
Dry farming means that the annual rainfall is the only water that the trees receive. No supplemental irrigation is provided by the farmer. This has several consequences: trees must be widely spaced, farming practices to retain moisture are time sensitive and crucial, and yields are a third or less per acre than with conventional farming. We think you will agree that it is all worth it, once you taste an organic walnut grown from our dry farmed orchard.
Harvesting and Processing
Our careful, family managed harvest techniques also contribute to the freshness of the raw organic walnuts. The light amber color and rich flavor are the result of a combination of growing and processing techniques. An important part of the process is quickly gathering the nuts into sacks as soon as they are on the ground. The subsequent drying ensures a clean and defect free nutmeat. The green exterior husk comes off before the drying process while the in-shell nuts are dried to about 6-8% moisture for optimal flavor. The shelled walnuts are stored in our large walk-in freezer, so they taste as fresh many months later as they do one day after harvest.