Van Mourik Farm
16273 S. Carrolton Rd.
Escalon, CA 95320
Telephone/fax: (209) 838-2021

Farmers' Markets Came in the Nick of Time
Gilbert Van Mourik admits that he's had ups and downs as a nut grower. But he also quickly adds that being able to sell directly to customers at the Saturday San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market as well as other farmers' markets around the Bay Area has saved him.

The Van Mourik's path to selling at farmers' markets was not an easy one. The family immigrated from Holland to southern California in 1955 and for nearly 12 years Gilbert worked in a soap factory. Becoming increasingly dissatisfied with how the unions were running the factory, he decided it was time to try working for himself. Drawn to the Escalon area of northern California where other Dutch families had settled, the Van Mourik's bought 15 acres of property in 1966 and began turning it into a nut farm, growing almonds, walnuts and pistachios. By the mid-1980's, they had expanded their acreage to 55 acres and were selling all of their nuts wholesale to the grower's exchanges.

But the Van Mourik's fortune began change in the mid-1980, when wholesale prices for nuts began to drop dramatically. By 1989, Gilbert and his wife Johanna were struggling to keep the farm going.

Just at the time, the farmers' market movement came into full swing around the Bay Area and the Van Mouriks made a strategic shift away from selling wholesale into selling directly to customers through the farmers' market venue. Selling at these markets has been the key to their recovery.

The Van Mourik Nut Farm Today
Today, the Van Mourik farm spans 40 acres and is successfully producing 20,000 lbs. of almonds, 8,000 lbs. of walnuts and 8,000 lbs. of pistachios each year. Gilbert and Johanna participate in 5 farmers' markets each week. You can find them at San Francisco's Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market on Saturdays throughout the year.

Nuts -- From Tree to Table
Delivering nuts to customers is a relatively straightforward process at the Van Mourik Nut Farm:

Almonds are harvested during a 2-3 week period in mid-September.

Walnuts and pistachios are harvested during a 2-3 week period into mid-October.

As the nuts are harvested, they are sent out for shelling. The shelled nuts are returned to the Van Mourik Farm in 50 lb. bins, where they are culled and cleaned, then returned to the bins.

Shelled and cleaned nuts are stored in a 40 cold storage room where they will stay until they are prepared for market.

Walnuts and almonds that are sold raw are packaged directly from the cold storage room and brought to market.

Roasted almonds first are sent out to a roasting service. Every month the Van Mouriks have 1,000 - 1,500 lbs. of almonds roasted. So you can be sure that the nuts you find at the Market are freshly roasted.

Pistachios are also roasted on a monthly basis.

Flavors

1/2 lb.

1 lb.

Raw Natural Almonds
Plain Roasted Almonds
Savory Almonds

P lain
Salted
Flavored Almonds
Garlic-onion
Hickory

Sweet Almonds

Orange-honey
Raspberry-honey
Cinnamon-honey

Coated Almonds

Bittersweet chocolate
Milk chocolate
Aspen mint
Yogurt

$2.25
$2.75
$2.75

 



$3.25

 

 

$3.25

$4.00
$5.00
$5.00





 

$6.00

 

 

$6.00

Walnuts

$2.25

$4.00

Raisins

Golden
Black

 

$1.75
$1.50

 

$2.75
$2.50

Pistachios

$2.25

$4.00

Cold Storage is the Key
The Van Mouriks take the time and trouble to keep their raw nuts in cold storage until they're ready to bring them to market, which could be as long as 10 months from date of harvest. This practice, which other small nut producers generally do not follow, is a key to why the Van Mourik's nuts are reliably creamy and fresh tasting throughout the year.

Harvest Alert!
Starting in mid-September, you can get this season's freshest almonds at the Van Mourik stand.  Walnuts will be available by the end of October. Don't miss them.

If you can't get to the one of the 5 Bay Area farmers' markets where the Van Mouriks sell their nuts, you can order nuts directly from their farm. These make prefect holiday gifts for discerning friends and family who appreciate fresh nuts!

October 1996; updated September 2000.

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