SUISUN VALLEY — Larry and Maria Glashoff a few years ago wanted to do something different with the walnuts they grow on their Suisun Valley ranch.
They have Franquette walnuts that fetched a lower price than they wanted from processors. Maria Glashoff said the quality of Franquettes is good, but that they have a smaller percentage of nut meat than other varieties.
One day, Larry Glashoff was looking in a grocery store. He saw roasted walnut oil.
“We tried it and we liked it,” Maria Glashoff said.
With that, they saw another possibility for their walnuts. Glashoff Farms Walnut Oil was born.
Their walnut oil was among the 130 foods and drinks from 32 states to win a Good Foods award in January in San Francisco. Winners got selected from 1,450 entries from all 50 states, an event press release said.
Walnut oil has a lower profile than olive oil in the United States, Maria Glashoff said.
“People are very curious about it,” Maria Glashoff said. “It is catching on.”
She uses it to make pesto. She puts it on potatoes so that the herbs stick, with the walnut oil adding a toasty flavor. Walnut oil is good on vegetables instead of butter, Maria Glashoff said.
Walnuts are Solano County’s top crop, with a 2012 value of $47 million. Many of the walnut orchards are located in the Winters area in the north county.
But farmers also grow walnuts in Suisun Valley. Maria Glashoff on a recent day showed the trees on Glashoff Farms near Suisun Creek. Some of the trees are more than 100 years old and were there when Larry Glashoff’s grandfather bought the property in the early 1900s, she said.
The orchards are quiet during early spring. Fall is when walnuts get harvested and brought to a large machine in a tin shed with roof two-stories high to remove the green hulls.
The Glashoffs’ hulling machine is a mixture of metal and wooden parts and conveyor belts. Larry Glashoff’s grandfather and uncle built the machine several decades ago.
From there, walnuts get shipped to Woodland to be cracked and then to the oil mill. The Glashoffs bottle their walnut oil in a commercial kitchen they own near Rockville and Abernathy roads.
Then the Glashoffs go on the road to sell the roasted walnut oil. They go to weekend farmers markets in San Francisco and Sacramento.
Go to www.glashoffs.com to find out more about Glashoff Farms.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929, or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.