Walnuts are in season.  Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!  I’m chortling all the way to market…

Forgive me, but there is reason for my excitement: it’s not just that they’re in season, it’s because I have found walnuts that match the rather high expectations created by my rather biased childhood memories, and I just can’t get enough of them.

You see, I grew up on a farm up north. A farm that had a huge vegetable garden to potter about in, fruit trees to plunder at will and, best of all, a much beloved walnut tree that gave us the juiciest, most delicious specimens upon which I’ve ever had the privilege to munch.

We spent hours, my brother and I, navigating the walnut tree and picking every nut we could get our grubby paws upon, patiently peeling off the outer layer of thick green protective ‘skin’, and then cracking open the tough shell.

The nut doesn’t just pop out either, it takes some concerted wiggling to work the two halves out of their respective bits of clinging shell, but, ah, once they were out it was ever so hard not to eat them up all at once and lie back in groaning contentment. That’s the life, hey?

Darned tree. It spoiled me for life, or so I thought. We moved away from the farm over 20 years ago (yikes) and I’ve been searching for walnuts that taste like that ever since.  That’s a pretty long time, but I take my culinary pursuits seriously!

Well, I’ve found some. At LAST. And whilst nothing compares to a nut eaten directly from a tree (when you’re a kid and every day is a holiday, sigh), these sure are the closest thing to walnut heaven I’m likely to find (besides, I’m not quite so good at climbing trees these days, and could well do myself an injury… were I to happen upon a tree, that is).

The source: By Nature.  You’ll spot them at various food markets around Cape Town, with their simply and beautifully presented clear bags of fresh organically grown nuts.  Macadamias, almonds, pecan nuts, brazil nuts, even pistachios from Natal.  And now, walnuts. They’re in season, which is why they have them at all, and why they’re so fresh (they’re not a nut that keeps too well).

‘Tis the life of a seasonal eater…  For the next couple of months I shall feast upon walnuts and savour every last one of them.  And then, one day, there won’t be any more left, and I’ll have to wait patiently (or something resembling patiently) for the next season to come around again.

You’ll find By Nature at the Willowbridge Slow Market in Durbanville, the new Earth Fair Food Market in Tokai and the Triangle Square Market in Fish Hoek.  I suspect they may be at the new De Waterkant Market as well.  Visit www.bynature.co.za or contact Peter Owen on 083 658 3998 or info@bynature.co.za.

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