Saturday, September 13, 2014

Early Fall This Year

Pomegranates and walnuts and, it appears, all other crops are early this year due to the weather.  Harvest has begun.

Easy Favorite Walnut Harvest Cookies

2 cups Rancho La Viña walnut pieces
1/3 cup sugar - brown or white
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 egg whites, whisked until frothy

Grind nuts, sugar and cinnamon in food processor.  Blend with egg whites.  Drop by teaspoon on oiled cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees 15 minutes.  Cookies will be soft; do not over bake.  Delicious and habit forming.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Muses & Visionaries Magazine Discovered Our Walnut Oil

Muses & Visionaries or M and V found us and featured us on page 19 of their current issue.  We are thrilled to be there.  They can be found in bookstores or online at  It's a beautiful and stylish journal.  

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Walnut and Garlic Sauce

This sauce is for garlic lovers and can be used in infinite ways.  It would be good on pasta, bread, vegetables, meat or fish.  A dab of it could be added to a simple salad dressing. The following recipe makes 2/3 to 3/4 cup:

½ cup walnut pieces

6 cloves garlic, peeled

1/4 cup La Nogalera Walnut Oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Place the walnuts and peeled garlic cloves in food processor and mix to a paste.  Add the walnut oil little by little until you have a smooth mayonnaise-like sauce.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Summer is here....

Things we love about summer: mown hay, sage in bloom, baby chicks and fully leafed walnut trees sheltering the walnuts for our walnut oil.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sweeping After Shaking the Trees

The sweeper driver will blow walnuts from both sides into a long line to be picked up later by the harvester.  This is step two in the harvest process.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Harvest Begins!

There's only one way to get walnuts off the tree and it's with this shaker.  This is the first step in harvesting our crop.  More to follow...........

Friday, September 13, 2013

Walnuts Now

This is what you can expect to see in our orchards now.  When about 80 per cent of the green walnut husks are open harvest begins.  We think that might be at the end of next week.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Waiting for Harvest

Taking a walk with Friday in the orchard after all irrigation and work has been done.  We're looking for harvest to begin about September 20 this year. Photo by Tenley Fohl - fab photographer from Solvang.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Summer Scenes and some California Natives

Salvia spathacea (hummingbird sage) brings the little hummers to the garden.  Two other native critters aren't so welcome - ground squirrels and walnut husk flies.  Oregon grapes are just about ready to be devoured by resident birds.  Summer is evident everywhere on the ranch.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Another Summer Salad

This grilled peach, tomato and toasted walnut salad with a walnut oil dressing should be made right now as tomatoes and peaches are ripe!


Saute sliced peaches in skilled with a small amount of olive oil.  About 2 minutes each side.  Or grill on barbecue.

Slice tomatoes and arrange over greens.

Arrange peaches and chopped toasted walnuts over tomatoes.  Fresh basil would be good, too.

Spoon dressing over all. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.


1/3 cup La Nogalera walnut oil

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon honey

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Summer Salad of Baby Arugula, Pesto and Peas

Here's a summer salad we can't resist: arugula, pesto, warm peas and what else ... a drizzle of walnut oil, of course.  How to is detailed below.  Bon appetit!

Prepare the pesto in a food processor with 1 cup walnuts, 4 ounces fresh basil, 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1 cup La Nogalera walnut oil (or a mix of olive and walnut oil), 1 to 5 cloves of garlic and salt and pepper to taste.

Line plate with fresh baby arugula and put cooked warm peas on top. Drizzle pesto and a bit of walnut oil over salad. Scatter shaved Parmesan cheese and add a squeeze of lemon.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Culinary and Visual

Check out The New Wine Country Cookbook, a culinary and visual feast from California's Central Coast.  And happily for us, La Nogalera Walnut Oil is included in the book.  Check it out here.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Misty Spring Mornings

Misty spring mornings -- complete with a soft Pacific Ocean fog rolling over the hills.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Walnut Grafting

Visitors to our orchards often ask about the tree trunks, particularly the large dark-colored part just above the ground.  It is the junction between the rootstock and the upper, producing portion of the tree. English walnuts lack strong, disease-resistant roots so almost all English walnut varieties (and there are over 100) are grafted on a strong, vigorous, long-lived rootstock - usually black walnut or Paradox (a hybrid of English and black walnut).

In a nursery the rootstock grows for one year from the planted nut.  Then it is whip grafted to the English walnut and typically grows one more year prior to being dug up during the winter and sold as bareroot in the spring.  In our orchards the rootstock was planted and allowed to grow up to five years before the English walnut was grafted to the root.

Typically in nursery-grafted trees and vines the junction is close to ground level.  However in walnuts the graft may be 3 to 5 feet above ground.  The reasons being the black walnut rootstock stump may be very valuable when the orchard is finally removed and grafting at waist height as opposed to grafting at ground level is much easier on the back.

In many cases walnut orchards may last 80 to 100 years.  When the orchard removal finally occurs the wood is much sought after for everything from car dashboards to gun stocks, furniture, cabinets and flooring.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Easy Appetizer

Dip pieces of crusty bread in our buttery walnut oil and top with a slice of salty hard cheese. Wonderful with a glass of wine.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Frosty Morning in the Orchard

A chilly morning in Santa Barbara county, as the temperature dips to 29 degrees.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Harvest

Harvest is well underway and you can see all phases of it here -- from shaking the trees, to sweeping the walnuts into rows, picking them up with the harvester to be towed in a trailer to the huller where they are cleaned and inspected by people who throw out the bad nuts. Then they are dried overnight at Rancho la Viña or Hibbits Ranch.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Little Orphan Annie

Our bookkeeper, Dorene Miller, found "Annie" (Little Orphan Annie) in the orchards at Rancho La Viña when she was just a few weeks old. She was skinny, eyes swollen shut, weak and alone.

Dorene took her home and nursed her to health and she's now a healthy, curious kitten and happily, an orphan no more.  

{Pictured above is Annie in her new role as bookkeeper's assistant.}

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ice Cream with Roasted Grapes & Walnut Oil

• Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

• Toss 2 cups of grapes with 1 tablespoon olive oil in shallow baking pan. Cook 7 minutes at 450 degrees.

• Add 3 tablespoons walnut oil mixed with 2 teaspoons honey to the grapes (and resulting grape juice from the roasted grapes).

• Let cool a bit and spoon over ice cream.

• Sprinkle coarsely chopped toasted walnuts or pistachios on top.  Serves four.

Bon appetit!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer at the ranch

Clockwise from top left: a summer evening at the ranch; a view of the orchard from across the pond; a colorful artichoke; irrigating the orchards; the orchard after mowing and land-planing, getting ready for the harvest in two months' time; a Matillaja poppy, a sure sign of June/July.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Birth of a Walnut

The little bud in the center of the droopy catkins (that look like arms of a starfish) will be between one and three walnuts in about 3 to 4 month's time.  The trees depend upon the wind for pollination.  Stay tuned!