FOLSOM, Calif., Sept. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service California Field Office released the annual crop estimate for walnuts, predicting the annual yield to be 470,000 short tons.
Higher than last year's crop of 461,000 short tons, the 2012 estimate suggests the second largest crop on record and will be confirmed in February 2013. According to California Walnut Commission board member Carl Cilker, "We look forward to this year's crop as demand for California walnuts continues to rise. The trees look to be in good shape; we expect the new crop to be larger than last year, while still meeting California's remarkable quality standard."
The California walnut industry is made up of more than 4,000 walnut growers and more than 80 walnut handlers. California walnuts account for more than 99% of the commercial U.S. supply and control roughly three-fourths of world trade. In the 2010 crop year, approximately 40% of available product shipped within the domestic market and 60% was shipped to export markets, making California walnuts the fourth largest California export.
"People enjoy eating walnuts because they taste good and are convenient," explains Dennis A. Balint, CEO of the California Walnut Commission. "More importantly, walnuts are a heart-healthy, nutrient dense food. To date, the industry has supported more than 80 published health research studies in the areas of cardiovascular health, cancer, diabetes, cognitive function and other diseases of aging."
Additionally, walnuts are the only nut that contain a significant amount (2.5 grams per ounce) of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) the plant-based omega-3 essential fatty acid required by the human body as well as antioxidants, protein and fiber.
For more industry information, health research and recipe ideas, visit www.walnuts.org.
Media resources available:
- Expert interviews
- High resolution photography
- Walnut recipes
About California Walnuts:
The California walnut industry is made up of more than 4,000 growers and more than 80 handlers. The growers and handlers are represented by two entities, the California Walnut Board (CWB) and the California Walnut Commission (CWC).
California Walnut Board
The Walnut Marketing Board was established in 1948 to represent the walnut growers and handlers of California. In April 2008, the Walnut Marketing Board became the California Walnut Board to provide origin designation to the product it represents. The Board is funded by mandatory assessments of the handlers. The CWB is governed by a Federal Walnut Marketing Order. The Board promotes usage of walnuts in the United States through publicity and educational programs. The Board also provides funding for walnut production and post-harvest research.
California Walnut Commission
The California Walnut Commission, established in 1987, is funded by mandatory assessments of the growers. The Commission is an agency of the State of California that works in concurrence with the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). The CWC is mainly involved in health research and export market development activities.
The California Walnut Board (CWB) and California Walnut Commission (CWC) prohibit discrimination in all programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance programs. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact the CWB / CWC offices at (916) 922-5888. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). CWB/CWC is an equal opportunity employer and provider.
The California Walnut Board and Commission offices are located at 101 Parkshore Dr., Ste. #250, Folsom, CA 95630
 "Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 ounces of walnuts per day, as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet, and not resulting in increased caloric intake may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease." U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2004.
 Please note: One ounce of walnuts provides 18g of total fat, 2.5g of monounsaturated fat, 13 g of polyunsaturated fat, including 2.5 grams of alpha-linolenic acid - the plant-based omega-3; 2g of fiber; 4g of protein, 3.68 mmol/28 g of antioxidants. (http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/cgi-bin/list_nut_edit.pl)
SOURCE California Walnut Commission