Black walnut harvesting season kicks off

September 25th, 2017

By Kaitor Kposowa | WANE

Got Nuts? That’s not only the name of Scott Lewis’ walnut harvesting service in Huntington, but it’s a legitimate question. Because the more walnuts he collects and hulls, the better his profits.

Every October, you can find Fort Wayne Police Officer Scott Lewis searching for one thing: Black walnuts. He scavenges the 80-mile radius around Huntington for tens of thousands of hard green hulls which have the nuts inside.

That’s a lot of collecting, so he brought his whole family aboard to help.

“We’re spending quality time together outside,” Lewis said. “We’re not in our cell phones. We’re not watching T.V. We’re out enjoying nature, picking up what God gave us to pick up.”

In their best year, they harvested more than 90,000 pounds of walnuts, enough to fill two semi-trucks.

Lewis’ son Chandler said even with their mechanical huller cutting down significant time on the process, they still easily work 50 hours a week.

“It’s work,” he explained. “You’ll break a sweat at it. On a hot day like this, when it’s not quite getting into fall weather yet, you’re out here, you’re really getting a good workout at it.”

But the payoff is good. There’s easy money to make in walnut picking. If you collect 100 pounds of walnuts, you’ll make 15 bucks.

Lewis’ mom Sue said it’s also fun to watch the hulls from Northeast Indiana evolve into finished products at the Hammons Black Walnut plant in Stockton, Missouri.

“You see them in the green and the black and the moldy and all kinds of stages and you see them hulled and they look like the walnut and they send them down to Stockton. They get a certain humidity on the nuts and that’s how the nut pulls away from the shell and they’re able to harvest it then to see the final product.

The black walnut harvest will run until the first week of November.