Nut Markets for Indiana Food Businesses

Jan 14, 2021 | Local Producers, Products

The Indiana State Department of Agriculture recently awarded a research grant to the Indiana University Sustainable Food Systems Science team to identify the steps needed to establish value chains for Indiana-grown nuts, such as pecans, chestnuts, hazelnuts, and walnuts. In order to spotlight how we might  support a burgeoning nut industry, we invite any Hoosier business that uses nuts to complete this 7-minute questionnaire.

Why do nuts matter for Indiana?

Nut production is picking up in the Midwest, and most of our neighboring states have created organizations and infrastructure to support value chains for tree nuts. The number of Indiana farms growing nuts more than doubled from 2012 to 2017, and has increased many times over since 2002.

  • Prospects for landowners are good: farmgate earnings can gross over $2000 per acre. Nut trees can suit smaller parcels and riparian buffers. Growers note that improved tree cultivars, suited for Indiana, can bear within a handful of years.
  • Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Iowa all have nut grower collectives that co-own harvesting and processing equipment, which allows them to market value-added products such as nut flours.
  • You-pick nut orchards are viable and can complement you-pick fruit. For instance, Indiana’s Anderson Orchard has you-pick chestnuts.
  • In a pilot poll in 2019, members of the Indiana Nut and Fruit Growers Association ranked black walnut and hazelnut as top products whose markets they’d like to develop, behind pawpaw and persimmon.

Indiana’s fledgling nut markets deserve support. This study aims to find out recommend as next steps.

Fill out the questionnaire

Who should take this survey? Indiana’s food makers, manufacturers, processors, and other businesses and organizations that use nuts are invited to take the questionnaire to help us understand how and from where businesses are using nuts.

The questionnaire is anonymous. Only general averages will be reported in order to maintain confidentiality of responses and personal information. This information will lead to statewide conversations in the coming years. These conversations will work to build Indiana’s nut production and aggregation capacity. Thank you for your participation.

With any questions or ideas, please contact Dr. Julia Valliant: or research assistant Olivia Shoemaker: