California grows about a half million tons of walnuts per year. That is almost three-fourths of the world's walnut trade.
India already imports about 10 percent of the state's almond crop, now it has ok'd U.S. walnuts.
San Joaquin County leads California in walnut production and one of the largest processors and growers is Gold River Orchards. President Don Barton says India could eventually be a major market for California growers.
"The longer term it could be quite substantial just depending on how successful California marketers are in opening up this new market for the industry," says Barton.
Research touting the benefits of walnuts in fighting cancer and controling diabetes, among other health problems, continues to create a demand worldwide."We've had huge new markets open up in the last 5 years in China, Hong Kong, Turkey, and the Middle East," adds Barton.
He says India cleared the way once it was satisfied that the walnuts wouldn't carry any pests from the Valley.
"So when buyers from around the world come looking for product, they come with a lot of confidence that those processors are providing good manufacturing processes, excellent sanitation practices, and that they're testing their product to ensure that it's safe before it's shipped," says Barton.
Walnuts are California's 4th major farm export at just over $1 billion.