The black walnut season is rapidly approaching and harvesters will be paid a premium price for collecting the fall fruits -- $13 per 100 pounds hulled.
This year's crop may not be as plentiful as last year's, according to Mike Brattin, who operates a hulling station at Farm Pro, located on Highway 37 south of Monett.
"There have not been a lot of walnuts on the trees I've seen so far this year," Brattin said. "We won't know the quality of the meats until they open them up at Hammons [Products Company] in Stockton."
Last year, Brattin said people were lined up for four to five hours to have their harvest hulled and bagged at the local station.
Hammons operates over 200 hulling stations over 12 states, all of which have suffered from an extended drought this summer.
The company is looking to buy 25 million pounds of black walnuts this year, which could prove to be a challenge for harvesters.
"I talked to Brian [Hammons] about two weeks ago, and he thinks the crop will be light this year," Brattin said.
The meats are used in everything from ice cream to baked goods, salads, candies and entrees.
The 2012 walnut season begins on Oct. 1 and continues through Nov. 5.
Other area hulling stations in Barry County include:
* Seligman Auto Parts at the intersection of Highways 37/112 and DD in Seligman.
* Yarnall Enterprises at 84 S. Main in Cassville by the storage buildings.
Unlike traditional English walnuts, black walnuts are wild and highly sustainable.
Approximately 90 percent of this year's crop will come from native trees growing wild in yards, pastures or woods. These nuts vary in texture, yield and quality.
Each fall, thousands of people participate in the black walnut harvest, earning extra money for non-profit groups, Christmas gifts or bonus income. Black walnuts grow wild across the Midwest and are harvested by hand before being bagged for Hammons.
For recipes featuring Missouri's native black walnuts, visit www.hammonsproducts.com.