It's walnut time again in the Ozarks and the walnut buying station in Neosho is open.
This year, Brett Lewis is hulling and bagging the walnuts that are brought in to the station. Brett is a student at Crowder who also works at Southside Feed, where the walnuts are processed.
This week, buying has just started and things were slow, but Brett thinks business will pick up as he sees more and more trees dropping nuts. Also, he thinks a good freeze would send more nuts to the ground.
Brett says that right now most of the sellers are adults, but he expects more kids will come in when the crops are bigger.
This is Brett's first year in the walnut business.
"I kinda like doing it," he said. "It gives me a break from just loading feed all day. Although, sometimes it gets a little hectic when someone is wanting feed and someone is here to sell walnuts."
Brett expects if the walnut business picks up, the company will have to hire someone part-time.
The current price for walnuts (hulled) is $13 per hundred pounds. This is the highest price ever for walnuts, but the price can fluctuate, so people are encouraged to pick up their walnuts and sell them right away. The walnut buying station will close on Nov. 4.
At the station, the walnuts are brought in and put into a sheller which strips all the outer shell off. The hard nuts that are left are then transferred into green sacks which hold about 40 pounds. When there are enough bags filled, a truck hauls them to Stockton, Mo., where the only black walnut processing company in America is located.
Brett is getting some good experience at the walnut station and at the feed store. He is an agriculture major at Crowder College. His parents operate a ranch at Goodman and that's what Brett hopes to do after he completes his degrees.
He is a busy man, going to college, working at basically two jobs and getting a little coon hunting in his spare time.
So, if you need some extra cash or some Christmas money, there is an abundance of it just lying on the ground. It's almost as good as cash!