• Walnuts

    When I was WWOOFing a few years back in Plymouth, Ca, I had the opportunity to harvest walnuts. The farm I was working on had 7 mature walnut trees that needed to be harvested while I was there. My friend and I went around and picked the walnuts off the ground from the shade under the trees. The walnut shells were in a larger, green pods that were just starting to dry and crack , revealing the brown walnut shell we’ve all seen. We loaded up baskets and dumped the walnuts onto large drying racks. There the walnuts sat, in shell, for a few weeks. After that, we loaded them into canvas bags and prepared them for sale. Some walnuts were sold whole, but most buyers preferred their walnuts shelled. That was the hard part. We sat around and chatted while we cracked each walnut, one by one, doing our very best to leave the 1/2 walnuts in tact. Of course we snacked on 1 in every 10. Quality control 🙂

    It’s amazing how much walnuts look like brains. I once read an article that many foods tend to resemble the very body part they benefit most. For example, the cross section of a carrot tends to resemble an eye. Walnuts are said to be really good for us, and not only for brain functioning. Walnuts help with cancer fighting, heart health, diabetes, weight control, and they have anti oxidants that stop us from aging too quickly. Wow. How can something tasty be so incredibly healthy?

    Terra Bella Ranch at the Hillcrest Farmers Markets sells two great varieties of walnuts- Red and Chandler. They’re beautiful and as fresh as ever. There is a definite taste difference between some store bought walnuts. If you want to see for yourself, go visit and sample! You’re in for a treat.

    I have a recipe for a pesto made with walnuts, basil, parsley, and fresh garlic. The walnuts give the pesto a nice creaminess and also a really nice, earthy flavor.

    I recommend the walnut pesto slathered on toasted bread, then topped with cheese, set atop a summer tomato- soup, and then finished in the broiler.

    Of course, the pesto can be used in pastas, to top summer salads, grilled chicken or fish, or just as a dip for crackers or cut vegetables. 

    I think you will enjoy this slight twist on a classic pesto. Use fresh market ingredients- it’s the time of year for them. And treat yourself to some fresh cheese- you know where to find it!

    Walnut Herb Pesto with Lemon and Fresh Garlic


    1. 2 cups fresh basil
    2. 2 cups fresh parsley
    3. 4 cloves of garlic
    4. 1/2 cup raw walnuts
    5. Zest and juice of one lemon
    6. ~1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    7. Salt and Pepper to taste
    Method: Place all ingredients except olive oil in food processor and process until herbs are blended into walnuts and a paste forms. Drizzle olive oil as you continue to process. Scrape out into a bowl- will keep for about a week in the fridge!


    -Market Girl

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