After work, I was capitalizing on the plethora of hickory nuts on the ground. This time I was at a local park with a playground. A parent was intrigued at what I was doing, and ask the usual questions like, “What are you doing?”; “Really, you can eat those?”; “What do you do with them?”
I was picking up large mockernut hickories and we make a local, super food, nut milk from them. Nut vegan cheeses, icecream or yogurt can all be made from a local nut milk. It can be used as a creamer for tea, boiling rice or oatmeal with it is amazing, and it makes a rich soup base, on and on. If her jaw dropped any lower I would have thought she had gone into shock. A few minutes later she was pointing out nuts to her 3 and 4 year olds and telling them they were edible and if they wanted they could pick them up and put them in the Nut Man's bucket. After more conversation the mosquitos unfortunately ran them off.
Right about then two 10 year old boys showed up. One was on a bike and the other was milling around and I asked him if he wanted gainful employment at which he immediately replied, “yes.” I had and extra wizard so I handed him mine, and went to the truck to get another. I told him we could make about 10-15.00/hr cash a this site with these trees. He got to work and stayed until his Dad pulled him away at dusk. His buddy and him tried to crack them with the front wheel of the bicycle crashing down on it, then a stick, and I recommended that they get a rock and finally they were able to access the nut meat which they said with astonishment, “wasnt bad.” I told him that after they cure a little the meats get more like the texture of nuts we are familiar with. He left with his nuts and told him to bring them to the nuttery on Wednesday or Sunday where he could make a deposit and get credit or cash fo his efforts.
His Dad had check out our website and was ecstatic about the possibilities of his son making honest money. Young girls these days have the babysitting gig, have a training program and are making 15.00/hr doing their homework or on their phone. Adolescent boys really dont have that opportunity,and they tend to want to be active. Picking up nuts is a perfect gig. Flexible hours, outdoors and fresh air for health benefits, and less screen time killing things. His friend on the bike wasnt interested in picking up nuts, as I could see he was more motion oriented after a day spent in a chair in a classroom. After he wiped out on the hickory nuts I told them that “wipe out trees” are the ones you want to gather nuts under. They laughed and I told him that scouting for nuts was equally important and that riding around looking for trees was a valuable service. He tore off on his bike and came back 3 minutes later with a report of a white oak tree that had covered the ground with nuts. I told them that there isn't a a nut we arent buying and we could either pay them cash, or even better, they would trade for product and then market it to their families and friends. That is getting paid for gathering nuts, and for selling them- Double or Nut'n.
When I returned home after dark, my partner told me of some young boys who are starting a leaf raking business in order to raise money so they could go on a nature trip to Costa Rica. That's a lotta leaves! They may need to double their money and I am hoping to suggest to them that they also provide a service to pick up those annoying, messy black walnuts that proliferate so generously in our yard and roll under our ankles. They could get paid for cleaning them up, and selling them to us. Double or nut'n.
Kids want to be useful and often can't find a way to be so. I would like to help these young entrepreneurs out and any other kids who want to pay for a school trip, band instrument, church cause, new bike... by putting the word out that these services are available. If you need help with cleaning up nuts up out of yard, want to encourage kids to be nut farmers, support a good cause like the Acornucopia Project, and provide wholesome local foods to our community let us know and we will direct you to the proper professionals. There are so many mutually beneficial outcomes from what was once an annoyance- Double or nut'n.