By: Mary Malouf | Photo by: Adam Finkle
Traditionally, fall is nut season. That’s when the squirrels are busiest, but we can have nuts all year round. Nuts add crunch and crust to braised meats, fish and pasta, a taste of umami to vegetables and salads and a little glamor to almost everything. One of man’s first foods, nuts have grown even more essential to our diet in recent years—paleo, low-carb, vegetarian and vegan diets rely on the protein and fat in nuts.
Nuts To You
An iconic Utah company shops the world for nuts, and our palates couldn’t be happier.
Western Nut Company, in business since 1966, is the go-to for nuts in Salt Lake. Its factory store is, dare we say, chock-full and, in the adjoining factory, nuts are roasted (exclusively in peanut oil), made into brittle and packaged for retail sales in their own store as well as for restaurants and other stores. “We don’t grow any nuts, but we buy them raw from all over the world,” says Operations Chief Loren Mercer, who knows more about nuts than most people need to. He buys walnuts and almonds from California, pecans from Texas and New Mexico, macadamias from Australia and cashews from India, Africa and southeast Asia. Brazil nuts are still harvested wild, he tells me, and are hard to roast because they get too soft.
In this country, the most popular nuts, in order, are almonds, peanuts, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, macadamia nuts and hazelnuts, or filberts. Pecans are preferred in the south; walnuts in the north. Of course, they’re all wildly popular during the holidays.