State’s Walnut Sales Are Booming Overseas

Sales of California walnuts in the United States are static, but the commodity is booming abroad, industry officials say.

In fact, the United States isn’t the No. 1 consumer of in-shell California walnuts any longer, Turner Oyloe, executive director of the California Walnut Commission, told southern San Joaquin Valley growers at a meeting in Visalia. Shipments to West Germany from the 1988 harvest totaled 35.1 million pounds, compared to 34.3 million pounds sold in the domestic market, he said.

Seventy percent of California’s in-shell walnuts are sold on the export market, Oyloe said, in part because of strong promotional efforts abroad. By contrast, almost nothing is spent to promote walnuts in the United States, he added.

As a result, the California Walnut Commission may spend more on promotion in the United States instead of concentrating solely on foreign markets, Oyloe said.