There are a bunch of nuts in that line of trucks drivers may have seen on the north side of Missouri Highway 96 just east of the railroad overpass on the east side of Carthage.
We're not talking about the people in those trucks, the nuts are in the back.
Walnut collecting season is here and hundreds of people are hitting the countryside and their own and their neighbors' yards picking extra money off the ground.
Roy “Peck” Schrader, owner of Schrader's Excavating, runs one of the busiest walnut collection sites at his office on Highway 96 near the intersection with North River Street.
On Friday, as many as a dozen small pickups and cars pulling trailers spent an hour and a half to two hours waiting in line to cash in green nuts for greenbacks.
“It took two guys six hours to collect these nuts,” said Mike Perry, Carthage, who came in with a friend to unload a full-size pickup full of walnuts.
Perry and his friend split the $121.80 they collected for that truckload.
“It costs you gas to get out there, but other than that it's your time, plus about three hours waiting,” he said with a laugh as Peck Schrader stood close by.
“It wasn't that long,” Schrader said.
“Well maybe not,” Perry replied. “You've got to have the right spot to pick nuts, but you don't have a boss yelling over your shoulder, just walnuts falling on your head.”
Schrader said he's had a walnut purchasing location in Carthage for the past 11 years.
He purchases the nuts for Hammons Products Co., Stockton.”
Schrader said walnut season can last about 35 days. He expects to be open through Nov. 5, and maybe a little longer if people are still bringing in the nuts.
Schrader said this was turning into one of the best years for walnuts in his 11 years of purchasing.
“This year I'm expecting probably 400,000 pounds,” he said. “Our best year was 600,000 pounds. Last year was about 40,000 pounds. There weren't any walnuts, the drought hit them hard. The year before we stayed open a little later but we average about 300,000 pounds a year.”
Schrader said his location has been the second largest purchasing location in Hammons' group of buyers.
"I'll tell you why we're so busy because nobody else pays guys to unload them,” Schrader said. “Most places people pull up and they have to unload themselves. They've got one guy on the machine. Here we supply everything. You don't even have to get out of the truck if you don't want. Sometimes you have to wait. It's probably an hour and a half, two hour-long wait.”
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Susana Gonzalez sat in her smaller pickup waiting to unload after Perry finished.
Gonzalez said she didn't even leave her neighborhood to collect her walnuts.
“I collect from trees in the yards of my neighbors and friends,” Gonzalez said. “It's extra money and it really helps. You might not make a lot of money, but any extra money is good and all you have to do is pick it up.”
Darrell Stadler and Sheila Wilson were also in line waiting to unload. Stadler said the walnuts were way more abundant and bigger than they were last year.
“There was plenty of water for them to swell up good,” Stadler said. “I've been collecting for about three years. It's free cash and it's honest cash because you worked hard for it. I had three days off here so I decided to get out and go to work.”
Stadler said he uses a length of rope and two liter pop bottles filled with water to shake off the nuts that hadn't quite decided to fall.
“This kind of thing helps a lot of people out,” Stadler said. “I get some extra money and it helps people to get the nuts out of their yards because they dull the lawn mower blades.”
Schrader said the revenue from walnut season helps him out as well.