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Fri Jul 27, 2012, 10:56 PM

Why are nuts so damn expensive? Pecans, walnuts, almonds, pine nuts...

I really enjoy using them in meals - salads, pesto, breakfast, etc. - but at $8-10/lb for pecans and walnuts, I just don't buy much (especially because if my husband spots them, they're gone in a heartbeat - I have to hide them all over the kitchen / house to preserve them for meals).

But really - husband is from South Carolina and remembers pecan trees everywhere. It's not like they're exotic nuts -- so why so $$$?

Thanks for any thoughts.

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Reply Why are nuts so damn expensive? Pecans, walnuts, almonds, pine nuts... (Original post)
Flaxbee Jul 2012 OP
hlthe2b Jul 2012 #1
Arkansas Granny Jul 2012 #2
Major Nikon Jul 2012 #9
Arkansas Granny Jul 2012 #15
Major Nikon Jul 2012 #16
The empressof all Jul 2012 #3
noamnety Jul 2012 #5
freshwest Jul 2012 #13
msanthrope Jul 2012 #4
FSogol Jul 2012 #17
msanthrope Jul 2012 #18
grasswire Jul 2012 #6
Denninmi Jul 2012 #7
freshwest Jul 2012 #14
NJCher Jul 2012 #8
Major Nikon Jul 2012 #10
GoCubsGo Jul 2012 #11
grasswire Jul 2012 #12
sinkingfeeling Jul 2012 #19

Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Fri Jul 27, 2012, 11:00 PM

1. I've finally developed some restraint, but yeah--incredibly expensive. Costco or nothing, for me.

Not cheap, but certainly cheaper than just about anywhere else and the quality is good.

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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Fri Jul 27, 2012, 11:02 PM

2. I don't know about other parts of the country, but my pecan tree hasn't given me a crop

for the last two years and other people I talk to say the same thing. There are nuts on the tree now, but it has already started shedding immature pecans due to the heat and drought. We had a good rain last night so I'm hoping that will help, but the forecast doesn't look too promising for more rain or a break in the heat.

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Response to Arkansas Granny (Reply #2)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 03:31 PM

9. That's pretty typical for pecan trees

If you have an ungrafted tree it may never produce well. Grafted trees will take as long as a decade before you get a good crop. Even if you have a grafted tree that is well established there will probably be more off years where you won't get much of a crop.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #9)

Sun Jul 29, 2012, 07:45 PM

15. This is a mature tree that has had good crops in the past. Last year we had a dry summer and much

higher than normal temps and it dropped all of it's nuts early. This year it is just loaded with nuts, but we've had dry weather and high temps again and it has shed a lot of immature pecans already. We lost a lot of trees around here last year and they are starting to show stress again this year. It has just been a couple of bad years for trees in general.

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Response to Arkansas Granny (Reply #15)

Sun Jul 29, 2012, 09:13 PM

16. It takes a lot out of the tree to produce a good crop

So it makes sense that if you have excessive heat with drought conditions the tree is not going to produce well. If the tree is older (30 years or more) you might want to have an arborist look at it just to make sure you don't lose it. Old pecan trees are like gold. At a previous house I had a really big and old pecan tree. In a good year it would produce like crazy. I sure miss it.

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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Fri Jul 27, 2012, 11:12 PM

3. Yes they have gone sky high

Costco or Trader Joes are the best bets but I noticed the Trader Joes bags are getting smaller. Also check your bulk bins in the grocery store. You can sometimes save a buck or more bagging your own.

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Response to The empressof all (Reply #3)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 12:55 AM

5. Careful of the costco pine nuts

My mom got some pretty recently and they gave her pine mouth syndrome. She'd never heard of it, and it freaked her the hell out - she thought she was maybe getting warning symptoms of a brain tumor or something. (Check that they aren't from China - the costco ones were.)

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Response to noamnety (Reply #5)

Sun Jul 29, 2012, 01:25 PM

13. Interesting. I googled and found this:

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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Fri Jul 27, 2012, 11:22 PM

4. I just paid 40/lb for organic pine nuts, for my yearly pesto making.

Yes. You read that right.

But the pesto is really, really great.....

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #4)

Sun Jul 29, 2012, 10:38 PM

17. Try using walnuts instead of pine nuts for your pesto.

It is quite better. The pine nuts I find in the grocery stores around here are expensive and usually rancid,

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Response to FSogol (Reply #17)

Sun Jul 29, 2012, 11:27 PM

18. You've just given me a belly laugh....

Walnuts....I would never live down pesto made from walnuts...



1) My Sicilian ancestors would rise from their graves. I am an atheist, but I firmly, firmly believe that the ghosts of my Mema and Noni would appear in my kitchen, weeping and wailing.

2) My living Sicilian relatives would call. You see, I make pesto for the whole family. We all know a pine nut from a walnut. I can't imagine the phone calling, but I do know that every family dinner between now and the next batch would have a live debate over my heresy.

3) Walnuts are not better. True, they are better than a rancid pignola.

4) You don't buy pignoli from a grocery store. You order them from your salumeria, along with your cheese, and your oil on the same weekend your greengrocer is getting you two cases of basilico and 10 heads of garlic.

5) You have to use your walnut crop to make your nocino. You don't want to miss that.



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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 03:39 AM

6. I buy them in bulk, and they have gone up $2-$3/pound since the first of the year

...except for almonds, which are $4.99.

Perhaps we should look to the eating habits of our Asian consumers for the answer. I just learned that 60 percent of the blueberry crop in Oregon is going to Japan because they have developed a taste for them.

That's gotta make our prices go up.

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Response to grasswire (Reply #6)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 07:06 AM

7. Two reasons -- poor crops and Asian markets.

The crop on pecans was extremely bad last year, Texas, which is the largest producer, had extreme losses due to heat and drought. Even irrigated groves lost most of the nuts, the heat was too much for them. And what is produced gets snapped up by Asian consumers willing to pay $$$ for them.

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Response to Denninmi (Reply #7)

Sun Jul 29, 2012, 01:26 PM

14. I agree, and some orchards have died from drought or fire.

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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 09:20 AM

8. such a concentrated amount

from bulk to what you buy in the bag is a big difference. I'm sure you've shelled some before--think back to that and you can probably see why they're so expensive.

I think Trader Joe's has some pretty decent prices on nuts. That's where I buy mine.


Cher



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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 04:01 PM

10. I can tell you why pecans are so expensive

It takes 8-10 years to establish a pecan orchard before they will get a profitable crop. They only produce well in very rich soil. Even after that much time, younger trees don't produce as much as older trees, and there will be many off years where they won't get a good crop.

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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 05:35 PM

11. Drought, honeybee colony collapse disorder, Obama.

Drought is a huge factor. At least this is much of the case for pecans, and for peanuts, which is why peanut butter is so outrageously expensive. The trees are still everywhere here (South Carolina), and in Georgia, which is catching it even worse in some places. Texas is also a huge pecan producer, and they have had issues with weather, as well. This is the third or fourth growing season in a row where it has been abnormally hot and dry. And, as was pointed out elsewhere in this thread, a lot of the pecan and other nut crops--what there is of them, are being shipped to China, where they apparently are willing to pay more for them.

Another problem is that honeybees are dying off. That only affects almonds, Brazil nuts, and cashews, as the others are predominately wind-pollinated. It's also a huge problem for a large number of other crops, including citrus.

And, of course, it's all President Obama's fault, since everything bad in this country is his fault.

, although all these teabagger types will certainly try to blame the high food prices on him. Some already are.

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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 08:42 PM

12. as an example, here are the stats on Oregon's produce exports

40% of Oregon's agricultural products are shipped offshore.

Asia receives 87.7% of those products.

80% of Oregon's agricultural products leave the state.

Top markets for that are China, Canada, Mexico, Japan, and S. Korea.

S. Korea purchases $368,000,000 of those products yearly.

Oregon farmers have increased their blueberry plantings exponentially to feed the Asian market.

The only downside for farmers? Asian appetites are trendy, apparently. What's hot today might be jam tomorrow.

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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Mon Jul 30, 2012, 12:53 PM

19. Not to worry, soon the price of meat will be in the same range. Funny, how

most people don't think $8 to $10 a pound is expensive for steatk, but do for nuts.

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