Nuts came in all different forms including liquid at the May 13 festival. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Whole nuts, nut hummus, nuts in ice cream, flavored nuts, candied nuts, nuts turned into milk, nuts in salad, nuts in rice. After a day at the annual California Nut Festival I definitely felt nuttier.

I suppose what was missing was nut flavored wine and beer, but I’m pretty sure that was a good thing. The local non-nut infused adult beverages were wonderful to wash down all the nuttiness.

This festival started in Chico in 2006. After all, the city is known for its walnuts and almonds. (The l is silent if you are in the ag business, so that would be pronounced am-unds.)

This was my first time to try red walnuts.

“Red walnuts are not genetically modified. Instead, they were created using natural methods of grafting Persian red-skinned walnuts onto larger and creamier English walnuts. To retain their red color, they should be shelled by hand,” according to the Bertagna Nut Company website. This Chico company was at the festival sharing red walnuts with people. “Machine shelling causes the red layer to dull and chip. These nuts are larger in size and the shells are a little harder than other walnut varieties, while their trees grow slower. Since there are limited amounts of producing trees, these rare walnuts are currently only found in high-end stores, some farmer’s markets, and online.”

I didn’t realize how special they were until after the fact. I suppose if I were a nut connoisseur, I would have realized in the moment to have appreciated the rarity of the red nut.

Learning about the various types of walnuts. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Considering this particular Saturday was in the 90s, cold beer and ice cream were some of my favorites. Tiny glasses from Mulberry Station, Feather Falls Brewing and Farmers Brewing all quenched my thirst.

I preferred Shubert’s pistachio to their toasted almond ice cream.

Bacio’s Catering had a delightful wild rice concoction with a minimal amount of nuts.

The thing is I usually don’t like nuts in my food. After an afternoon of crunching my way through various samples, I might have to rethink that.

Lots of cheese was available, but that was not the best considering it’s hard to keep cheese appealing on a hot day.

A couple local olive oil purveyors shared their liquid gold.

Patrick Ranch was a great setting for the event. Two stages had music which complemented the laid back vibe. It wasn’t head banging. Just the right amount of amp and a good variety of musicians.

Partaking in the sampling of locally grown food was a fun way to spend a few hours.



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