Walnuts intended for retail sale can be removed from their shells and baked before packing and shipping. This labor-intensive process takes time and costs money. Trees require a specific climate and exact soil conditions to produce a high yield. The Chinese, Hudson says, are hungry for all kinds of nuts.
Their growing economy means that they are more willing to pay higher prices, and that drives up prices everywhere. Demand is also moving faster than walnuts can grow. It's not just walnuts that are planted; it takes 10 years from the start of cultivation to harvest, Hudson tells Melissa Block of All Things Considered. Mixed with that, the most important thing is the weather, Hudson says.
Southern Georgia, home to many of the country's walnut orchards, experienced two of the wettest springs and summers in history last year, creating real disease problems. Where in the United States do people say pee-kahn instead of pi-kahn? Joshua Katz answered his burning question by mapping Bert Vaux's dialect survey on regional variations in the continental United States. Courtesy of Joshua Katz hide caption And speaking of walnuts, is there a correct way to say the word? (After all, there are several different versions, such as pee-kahn, pi-kahn, and pee-kan. A dialect survey on the word nut showed that in the United States almost 30 percent say pee-kahn, 21 percent say pi-kahn, while pee-can only has 13 percent.
Why are walnuts so expensive? Walnuts are very expensive due to their high demand but with little supply. Other costs, such as market uncertainty and advertising these nuts as luxury products, increase the price. Overall, the total cost makes walnuts expensive, especially for most consumers. Walnuts are seasonal and it takes more than 10 years for the tree to mature and start producing the precious nuts.
The harvest is sometimes interrupted by the prolonged wet season, creating distribution gaps in the market and causing prices to rise. They require a lot of water. Many trees skip a year to produce. If you plant a tree and wait long enough for it to produce, but the nut isn't big enough or aesthetically pleasing, you have to sell it in a poor market or start over.
In addition, they are quite laborious to decipher. As walnut orchards ripen slowly, farmers have to find ways to recover their investment as quickly as possible, which explains why walnuts are so expensive. Given the time it takes to mature a walnut orchard, farmers have to look for ways to recover their inputs in the shortest possible time, which partly explains why walnuts are expensive. The cost of walnuts is fully exposed to the economic pressures of supply and demand.
The government does not support nut prices the way it does with sugar prices, for example. The price of walnuts is going up, going up, which may mean that if you're planning a pecan pie for Thanksgiving, now's the time to buy them. Since walnuts are an essential part of pecan pies, prices also fluctuate when the price of walnuts follows suit. The time they take to mature and produce makes nuts expensive and restricts the growth of new nut trees.