The Black Walnut Harvest — An American Tradition with Brian Hammons — WildFed Podcast #104
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This week's interview is with Brian Hammons, CEO and President of Hammons Black Walnuts — the country's largest commercial producer of finished black walnuts. Black walnuts, of course, are a wild food very different from the English Walnuts most of us are familiar with, and sourced from nut trees native to North America. Each year Hammons buys millions of pounds of Black Walnuts from foragers all over the middle of the country, through an innovative network of buying and hulling stations they set up each harvest season. Brian is passionate about Black Walnuts, just like his father, and his father’s father were. He and his company embody the noble, but not so common traits, of hard work and work ethic, good stewardship, family tradition, and transparent business practices. And all of that comes through in the way he talks about what they do at Hammons. We often quote the writer and foraging icon Sam Thayer here on the show. He talks about what he calls “Ecoculture” as a more ancient and sustainable alternative to Agriculture. He’s quick to point out that with the right shifts in landscape management, viable wild food sheds are possible on a scale we can’t really imagine at present. To us, Hammons represents a company that’s been doing precisely that — creating a viable market for a wild food, sustainably, for decades. Not only that, but it’s a win-win-win, because as the customer gets a healthy, sustainable wild food, Hammons prospers and so do the foragers who supply them with their raw materials. Supporting companies like theirs moves us towards a new — or perhaps old — way of engaging the landscape for our food needs. It’s exciting to us, and it opens up a world of possibilities! Here’s to happy foraging! View full show notes, including links to resources from this episode here:
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