Most of us are familiar with the common walnut we grew up eating throughout the year. Those walnuts, available widely in grocery stores, come from the English Walnut (Juglans regia), cultivated primarily in commercial orchards from trees that originated in the UK and Europe.
But what many people may not realize is that the prized Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) is native to North America, where it can only be found growing wild in the eastern United States.
For millennia, foragers have sought the nutmeats of the wild-grown Black Walnut, rich in nutrients, essential fatty acids and protein, as an important and delicious food source – a tradition that continues to this day.
In fact, it can be said that Black Walnuts are one of the last wild-foraged foods in America today! “Black Walnuts have been growing wild here since the first humans set foot in North America, and they’re still wild today. They are incredibly sustainable – they naturally reproduce and continue producing Black Walnuts for over 50 years. Black Walnuts have been, and always will be, a completely wild, all natural, un-processed product,” says Daniel Vitalis.
Surthrival’s new Black Walnut Protein Powder is sustainably sourced exclusively by foragers of wild Black Walnuts. For about six weeks each October and November, foragers, families and friends gather to collect Black Walnuts by hand from fields, forests, farms and yards.
Then, in bags, buckets, trailers and even truckloads, they bring them to buying stations in garden centers, feed stores and grocery stores set up seasonally throughout the Midwest, where the foragers are paid by the pound for their harvest. Once the Black Walnuts are collected, sorted, husked and hulled by a third-generation, family owned business based in Missouri – the heart of Black Walnut country – for Surthrival, the nutmeats are turned into an exquisite, high-quality, fully absorbable protein powder that is ideal for smoothies, blended drinks, and to fortify baked goods and other recipes.
In sourcing its Wild-Foraged Black Walnut Protein Powder from local collectors, Surthrival is supporting what Vitalis refers to as “eco-culture," a more ancient and sustainable alternative to agriculture. "With the right shifts in landscape management, viable wild food sheds that can be maintained on a large scale are possible," Vitalis envisions.