Walnut In Jammu and Kashmir
Walnut is one of the main products of Jammu and Kashmir. It is major export from India to foreign countries and most of this item comes from a Jammu region. It is normally a product of cool climate free from frost. The rainfall of 760 mm is considered the optimum for a good quality crop of walnut. The walnut produced at the higher region are considered of superiority quality with a light coloured kernel and a characteristic thin shell.
Walnut plants in Jammu and Kashmir start flowering in March and many continue until April. Harvesting of the crop starts from the middle of August and continue until mid of October. Walnuts are divided into three categories i.e. , thin, medium and hard shell.
Harvesting starts when the splitting of the hulls and the natural drop of some nuts occur. The common practice is to beat the fruit bearing branches with long wooden poles. The fruit is collected by women. The harvested crop with hulls is heaped and left as such for something until the separation of the hulls is made easier. The nuts are then taken in baskets to nearby fast flowing streams and thoroughly washed. The drying of walnuts is done in the open sun. It may take five to eight days to dry the crop under the sun. The in-shell walnuts for export are then graded and transported to markets.
Walnuts grow well in deep, well-drained fertile soil. Until recently the entire walnut plantation was of seedling origin. Now walnut trees are being raised either from seeds or by budding or grafting methods. The young walnut plant raised from seedlings come to fruit at the age of 10- 15 years. However, optimum production is not expected till the plants reach at the age of 20- 25 years. In Kashmir these trees may continue to flower until the age of 100 years.
The walnut produced in the Jammu division usually have a thicker shell and are sold in local markets under the name Pahari. On the basis of packing, the walnuts are divided into two categories, bag and box quality. Thin-shelled ( Kagzy walnuts are usually brought to the market in the wooden boxes and baskets.