Nice nut to crack
Walnut farmer Sarabjit (Sarb) Johl was 13 when he migrated with his parents to the US in the early 1960s.
Walnut farmer Sarabjit (Sarb) Johl was 13 when he migrated with his parents to the US in the early 1960s. Today, he presides over a 1,000 acre farm and a growers’ collective that recorded exports of $20 million last year. The icing on the cake, as it were, came earlier this year when he was named Agriculturist of the Year by the California State Fair. “My father came here with very little money in 1963 and he worked in the farms enough to buy himself a piece of land—and we haven’t stopped pretty much since then,” Johl, who founded Sacramento Valley Walnut Growers LLC collective in 2006, says.
The farm is located in Marysville, Yuba County, in the quaint countryside where the sky is blue and the land stretches for thousands of acres. The trees that are harvested are usually not more than seven years old. “The trees from which we harvest, we make sure they are of the same height so that they receive the same amount of sunshine so that the produce is the same,” Johl explained. The trees remain completely dormant in the winter and the fruit starts growing during March-April, giving it plenty of time before the early October harvest season.