Walnut Grove in Winters, California
Farming is hard work that requires dedication and patience.
Growers work all year long in hopes of a good crop that will turn a profit.
In the case of walnuts or fruit trees, it can take years before that first crop is ready.
Lester Farms Walnut Harvest
I had the pleasure of visiting Lester Farms during their busy Fall harvest.
Like most farms in California, this one is family owned.
It’s grown considerably since the family first put down roots in the small town of Winters in Northern California, but the family is still involved and personally invested in providing us with high quality food.
When walnuts are on the tree, there is an extra layer protecting the hard shell that we are familiar with.
That is removed and the walnut is dried before making it’s way to us either to purchase whole or shelled or to be used in other packaged products and baked goods.
The industry is constantly on the lookout for the best growing methods.
They want to maximize their crops while taking care of the land and natural resources.
Here in California with our current drought conditions, water is a big concern.
Mr. Lester uses an iPhone app to help him know when his trees need water acre by acre.
In the past, he would have needed to drive around and manually check each area.
Now he can choose a section of trees on the app and it lets him know if he is in the “ok range” or if those trees need water.
This is a great time saver and it also helps him make sure that the trees are getting what they need to be healthy and produce food without wasting water.
When the walnuts are ready for harvest, they use a big machine that shakes each tree so that the walnuts fall to the ground.
Then they are “swept” to a row in between the trees so that they can be “vacuumed’ up.
Using these machines is much more efficient than picking by hand.
Walnuts were always a treat when I was growing up.
During the holidays, I could count on my mom buying bags of shelled walnuts to use in fruit cake and other baked goods.
We also would have a bowl of whole walnuts sitting out, so that we could crack our own for snacking.
I’ve continued the tradition with my own family – minus the fruit cake ….
More from Mama Likes To Cook
Check out the rest of my vegetarian recipes, so you can get more great ideas for baking, cooking, blending and juicing.
California Farm Tours
- Sweet Potato Joe Farm Tour – Livingston, CA
- Fiscalini Farmstead Cheese and Dairy Farm Tour – Modesto, CA
- Walnut Farm – Modesto, California
- Charles Ahelm Dairy Ranch – Hilmar, CA
- Avocado Orchard – Irvine, CA
- Urban Produce Indoor Organic Microgreens – Irvine, CA
- Brokaw Avocado Nursery Tour – Ventura, CA
- Rancho Rodoro Avocado Grove – Santa Paula, CA
- Shield’s Date Garden – Indio, CA
- SeaView Ranch – Calipatria, CA
- Lawrence Cox Ranches – Brawley, CA
- Lester Farms Tour – Winters, CA
- Lucero Olive Oil Tour – Corning, CA
- Wil-Ker-Son Kiwi Farm Tour – Gridley, CA
- Lundberg Family Farms Tour – Richvale, CA
Breweries in California
- Dust Bowl Brewing in Turlock
- Peter B’s in Monterey
- Refuge Brewery in Temecula
- Kinetic Brewing in Lancaster
- Coachella Valley Brewing Company in Thousand Palms
- Karl Strauss in Anaheim
- Sierra Nevada in Chico
Wineries in California
- Guglielmo Winery – Santa Clara Wine Trail
- Fortino Winery – Santa Clara Wine Trail
- Longoria Winery – Lompoc, CA
- Acquiesce Winery and Vineyards – Acampo, CA
- Bokisch Vineyards – Lodi, CA
- Bernardus Vineyards and Winery – Carmel Valley, CA
- Holman Ranch Vineyards – Carmel Valley, CA
- Jarman – Carmel Valley, CA
- Herzog Winery – Oxnard, CA
- Akash Winery – Temecula
- Wilson Creek – Temecula
- Cambria Winery and Vineyards – Santa Maria
- Foxen Vineyard and Winery – Santa Maria
- Nagy Wines – Orcutt, CA
- Grevino – Orcutt, CA
- Ojai Vineyard – Ojai, CA
- Keller Estate Winery – Petaluma, CA
- Adobe Road – Petaluma, CA
For a beautiful assortment of kitchen necessities and food gifts for the whole family, check out the deals at these online stores.
- Great Jones pots, pans and baking dishes
- The California Wine Club
- Wine of The Month Club
- JoyJolt Glassware
- Seven Sisters Scones
- Southside Market
Are you ready to have some delicious fun in the kitchen?