California Walnuts Raises Awareness of the Power of Omega-3 ALA in March

By California Walnut Commission

California Walnuts is raising awareness of the health benefits associated with omega-3 alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), while spotlighting the many ways that the versatility of walnuts can help increase the intake of omega-3 in the diet. Walnuts are the only tree nut that provide an excellent source of the plant-based omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (2.5g/oz.), which research indicates may play a role in heart health, brain health and healthy aging.

In fact, a 2022 study published in Advances in Nutritionfound that given the accumulating evidence on omega-3 ALA and cardiovascular-related outcomes, food sources high in ALA should be included as part of a heart-healthy dietary pattern.

While research continues to reinforce the many health benefits of walnuts, they are also an easy food to incorporate in the everyday diet, whether as an on-the-go snack or as part of a meal. They are delicious on their own, but also add great texture to salads, yogurt or baked goods. Walnuts can be a key ingredient in rich, satisfying spreads such as hummus, muhammara, pesto or walnut butter. Many consumers are not aware that walnuts also shine as a plant-based, center-of-the-plate ingredient.

Finely chopped or ground walnuts blended with legumes or mushrooms can be used as a plant-based alternative to ground beef or poultry in a variety of global dishes, ranging from meatballs to Mexican Walnut “Chorizo” Burritos to Indian Spiced Walnut Crumbles. This ground walnut meat can also be frozen for easy, make-ahead meals that offer a simple way to meet the recommended omega-3 intake.

“To celebrate the power of omega-3, we are kicked off our fourth annual global month-long campaign on March 1, to highlight that walnuts are an incredibly functional and versatile food that makes omega-3 consumption tasty and easy for people of all ages,” shares Robert Verloop, CEO of the California Walnut Commission. “Walnuts are the only nut and one of just a few foods that provide a rich source of plant-based omega-3. We want to inspire people to reap the health benefits of those omega-3s by enjoying walnuts in their daily snacks and meals. And, to keep your walnuts fresh at home, be sure to store them in the fridge or freezer!”

California Walnuts’ Power of 3 campaign features recipes, videos, social media content, digital advertising, instore promotions and more to inspire people around the world to enjoy the flavor, texture and nutritional benefits that walnuts bring to their lives. For more information about the benefits of California walnuts along with new global plant-forward recipe inspiration, visit and be sure to share your own walnut culinary creations on social using the hashtag: #PowerOfOmega3.


2023-03-02T09:11:25-08:00March 2nd, 2023|

Robert Verloop Named Executive Director and CEO for the California Walnut Board and California Walnut Commission

By The California Walnut Board

The California Walnut Board (CWB) and the California Walnut Commission (CWC) announced that Robert Verloop has been named executive director and chief executive officer, effective July 11, 2022.  The CWB and CWC represent over 4,500 California walnut growers and nearly 90 handlers, producing over 1.4 billion pounds of walnuts in 2021 that ship to more than 50 countries around the world.

“We are excited to bring onboard an experienced strategic leader such as Robert, his background will well serve the California walnut industry. He has the unique background of leadership roles as a grower/shipper of highly perishable produce and in commodity organizations. Robert understands the challenge to ‘move the crop.’  In addition, he has extensive knowledge and creativity as a marketer working in complex domestic and international markets,” said Bill Tos, the California Walnut Board’s Executive Committee Chairperson.

Mr. Verloop recently held the position of COO for Coastline Family Farms, a family-owned vegetable grower/shipper.  Previously, he held executive/ leadership roles with Naturipe Farms/Naturipe Brands, Sunkist Growers Inc., and the California Avocado Commission.  In those capacities, Robert worked in such areas as marketing and sales promotions in retail, foodservice and ingredient channels in domestic and global markets; issues management; strategic planning; and government relations, working with various state and federal agencies, including USDA, FAS/ATO, CDFA, and FDA.

“When he was a member of the then-Produce Marketing Association Board of Directors, Robert showed a true drive to help find and create solutions for the global produce and floral community. His focus on disciplined marketing and uncovering the implications in challenges and opportunities helped us immensely, and I expect the walnut industry will realize these same leadership benefits,” said International Fresh Produce Association CEO Cathy Burns.

“I am looking forward to working with the staff, the two Boards (CWB and CWC), and the growers and handlers that make up the California walnut industry.  Walnuts are highly versatile and nutritious, ideal for plant-based eating.  In collaboration with the growers and handlers we must respond to rapidly evolving market conditions with a sense of urgency and purpose and continue to build an ongoing dialogue with key customer segments in order to drive sales in all market segments,” added Verloop. “I am also keenly aware of the multi-generational nature of an industry dating back more than a century.  The new generations are inheriting a dynamic industry that continues to evolve through innovation, starting with new advances in orchard management practices, post-harvest management, and developing exciting new consumer products that showcase the versatility and delicious taste of nutritious California walnuts.”

The CWB and the CWC play a vital role in expanding walnut usage occasions and understanding walnuts’ health benefits, solving for production and post-harvest challenges, protecting the industry against burdensome regulations, and building demand for California walnuts globally.  Despite current supply-chain challenges, there is rising demand for walnuts given their versatility and wide range of studied health benefits.  Interest in plant-based eating around the globe is an opportunity for walnuts, which contain protein and fiber, and are the only nut that is an excellent source of essential plant-based omega-3 ALA.[1]

“We look forward to Robert and the CWB and CWC staff working in collaboration with the industry to address the near-term challenges in supply chain logistics, port congestion and rising costs.  At the same time, we will refresh and refocus our long-term strategies given the evolving marketplace and not waiver our focus on the mission of market development and increasing consumer demand globally for our future crops,” added Tos.

About the California Walnut Board

The California Walnut Board (CWB) was established in 1948 to represent the walnut growers and handlers of California. The CWB is funded by mandatory assessments of the handlers. The CWB is governed by a Federal Walnut Marketing Order. The CWB promotes usage of walnuts in the United States through publicity and educational programs. The CWB also provides funding for walnut production, food safety and post-harvest research.

About the California Walnut Commission 

The California Walnut Commission, established in 1987, is funded by mandatory assessments of the growers. The Commission is an agency of the State of California that works in concurrence with the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). The CWC is mainly involved in health research and export market development activities. For more industry information, health research and recipe ideas, visit 

2022-07-18T08:15:02-07:00July 18th, 2022|

California Walnut Board Advocates for Growers and Research

California Walnut Board Supports Industry Growth with Retail, Research and Advocacy Programs

Despite Pandemic, FY 2020/2021 Saw Record Production 


During the 2020-2021 crop year, California walnut growers and handlers worked together with the California Walnut Board and California Walnut Commission to advance the industry in new ways. Growers produced a record crop of 785,000 tons, a 20 percent gain over the 2019 crop. The California Walnut Board (CWB) and Commission (CWC) promoted walnuts through marketing campaigns that increased sales, leveraged new CWC-funded health research to sustain consumer interest in walnut consumption, conducted new production and post-harvest research to help maintain competitiveness, and accessed government dollars.

“In a year where a pandemic has altered so many aspects of the way Americans live and work, the Board’s contributions to the industry have been critical,” says Michelle Connelly, Executive Director of California Walnut Board.

Retail Campaign Generates Double-Digit Sales Growth

Retail programs drove sales and consumption during seasonal time periods when walnuts are not typically a priority for consumers. During American Heart Month in February, the CWB worked with retailers nationwide on a campaign to display walnuts with messaging about their heart-health benefits*. With 34 participating retailers, operating 10,400 locations, retailers saw an average sales lift of 22.5 percent. Additionally, television and radio advertising during this program reached 52% of US households.

In May through August, a summer snacking campaign signed-on 26 retailers with 7,400 locations to execute in-store promotions and specials. The first-of-its-kind snacking-focused program encouraged retailers to think of new ways to promote walnuts by tying into the consumer trend. Retail elements were supported with consumer outreach, and the average US consumer saw the message on walnuts and snacking six times. The campaign drove year-over-year walnut sales increases, when comparing the summer months.

Production Research Delivers Short- and Long-Term Benefits

The CWB continued investment in research programs to maintain competitiveness in walnut production and processing, as well as invested in applied projects that directly benefit immediate grower needs. Topics including pest management, food safety, product quality, and more were prevalent in these programs. UC Davis’ CWB-funded walnut breeding program released a new varietal, UC Wolfskill, in hopes of finding more desirable traits such as a late leafing, early harvesting Chandler-like variety.

The CWB Grades and Standards Committee approved 11 post-harvest research projects, three of which are exploring byproduct utilization for the walnut industry to add further value across the supply chain while promoting sustainability. The Committee also funded a project to develop methods and a database to help differentiate walnuts from various origins and cultivators which can help preserve the integrity and reputation of California walnuts.

“Our research programs are key in providing growers and handlers the resources they need to succeed in an increasingly competitive space,” says Connelly.

Steps Taken to Increase Efficiencies and Mitigate Market Disruptions

In September, the CWB voted to suspend the mandatory outbound inspections of walnuts to mitigate market disruptions like labor shortages or shipping constraints, while reducing redundancies. The suspension brings further efficiencies to the industry, while allowing resources to be saved.

“The Federal Marketing Order rules governing inspections are obsolete as market and customer quality demands have since surpassed USDA grade standards,” added Connelly. “The Board’s vote to suspend the inspections stands to benefit both producers and processors.”

CWC and CWB Do More Together to Advance Industry

In lock step with the CWB, CWC activities also contributed to and supported the industry throughout the year. As a result of the Commission’s efforts, walnut growers received over $85MM in direct payments from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) 1 alone and millions more through CFAP 2. Ensuring the walnut industry’s voice was heard, the CWC, as part of a coalition, also worked with sectors of the CA government to urge lawmakers in the Department of Pesticide Regulations to not increase mill tax for at least two years.

Furthermore, 17 scientific papers published that were funded or supported by the CWC, including findings in the areas of heart health, cognition, gut health and longevity. Sharing those health findings with health professionals and reporters resulted in 431 articles mentioning the health benefits of walnuts in mainstream media. The average US consumer saw the message 22 times.

Connelly shared more about why a robust, ongoing health research program is important, “Health is a top reason why consumers eat walnuts and demands are always evolving. New research discovers breakthrough results and makes important health advancements.”

Growers who want to learn more about how the CWB/CWC are doing more for the walnut industry are encouraged to sign up for newsletters to hear directly from the Board, follow our social channels on LinkedIn and @GrowCAWalnuts on Facebook, and learn more at

* Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 ounces of walnuts per day, as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet and not resulting in increased caloric intake, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. (FDA) One ounce of walnuts offers 18g of total fat, 2.5g of monounsaturated fat, 13g of polyunsaturated fat including 2.5g of alpha-linolenic acid – the plant-based omega-3.

2022-01-04T10:33:32-08:00January 4th, 2022|
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