Since we started selling pine nuts online in 1998, PineNut.com has received extensive acclaim and recognition both from major mainstream media and from our customers. Here is a small sample of what others say about our work.
On Dec. 14, 2005, Boston Globe ran an article "In the market: Pinenuts". The writer emphasized the differences between the imported nuts and the fresh and flavorful native American varieties, and concluded the article by saying: "Where to buy them? Penny Frazier of Goods From the Woods in Licking, Mo., sells pine nuts harvested from Nevada and New Mexico (www.pinenut.com)."
But here's the "Aw, nuts!" part of that story, which should be no surprise to anyone who has ever paid $8 for a baggie half-full of puny, shriveled nuts: According to the USDA, managing western rangelands for fresh pine nut production, rather than cattle, would produce approximately 100 times more financial value per acre. That's the kind of potential that quickly brought idealistic prospectors like Penny Frazier out west.
As the proprietor of the Web sites PineNut.com and WildCrops.com, Frazier sells wild teas, fruit and nuts over the Internet. Her customers range from curious individuals (who may have seen her on the Fox reality show Trading Spouses) to retailers, to an increasing number of cosmetics companies that are looking to include more organic and natural materials in their lotions and fragrances.
Over the phone from her 12-acre wild farm (an oxymoron that she can laugh at) in Missouri, Frazier told BW that American producers are missing out on one of the premier high-end agricultural products by ignoring wild nuts. But the former lawyer says her initial goal when she started harvesting nuts in the southwest and Great Basin wasn't just to make money--it was to save the environment by making money.
"I asked, 'How do you get enough value from humans to economically justify keeping lands wild?'," she said. "It's very well-documented that this is the highest value use for the land."
While Frazier's enthusiasm--she gives herself the nickname "Pinyon Penny" online--is unique, her entrepreneurial vision is shared by an increasing number of people in the West and for an increasing amount of wild products. Eric Jones, the co-director of the Portland-based Institute for Culture and Ecology, is at the forefront of trying to put those people and products together throughout the Northwest.
"It really doesn't make sense, from an environmental perspective, with all these resources around us, to be so dependent on importing the same resources from abroad," Jones says. "[Pine nuts] are probably just one of many things that could occur there, if you were to look closely at that landscape" He says that the lack of infrastructure for plant, nut and even mushroom harvesting on the public lands makes it hard for Idahoans to get started in the business, and he doesn't believe that pine nuts or any other single product can work as a "magic bullet" to kick-start the industry into mainstream legitimacy. Instead, his organization works to inform manufacturers, native populations and policy makers through online articles, workshops and immense books like his 2002 release Non-Timber Forest Products of the United States. But as someone who made extra money in his youth by picking mushrooms, and who was in Oregon during the heady $100-per-Matsusake mushroom days of the early 1990s, Jones says he expects that the value of forest products will ultimately make the government take notice.
"It's just a matter of time," he says. "We just need to channel it to a sustainable management strategy and away from haphazard opportunism. Our stakeholders and policy makers need to get together with land managers and say, 'How can we help you do this?'"
In the meantime, Idaho's own small community of pinyon pines, all of which are located south of Burley near the City of Rocks along the Utah border, remain a healthy but relatively unrecognized resource. According to BLM state office botanist Roger Rosentretter, the trees here were largely spared from chaining and deforestation in the 1950s, and they haven't been as subject to the intense droughts and bug infestations that have ravaged the Nevada and New Mexico populations. Not surprisingly, harvesting pine nuts on BLM and Sawtooth National Forest is also free and unregulated, as long as it's for personal use (although rangers contacted by BW stressed to keep it "within reason.")
Oh, yeah--and the taste? It's approximately the difference between a fresh banana and a dried banana chip, Frazier says.
"The [single-leaf] pinyon is a huge nut compared to most species, and it's really sweet and fruity and juicy," she says. "A fresh pinyon makes what you're buying in the grocery store taste like cardboard." Full article.
"Pine nuts are traditional in some Eastern cuisines, but haven achieved attention for their benefit as a health ingredient. Penny Frasier, founder of Goods from the Woods (www.pinenut.com), Licking, Mo., is out to change that. "In the first 11 months of 2006, the United States imported 8.6 million pounds of pine nuts valued at nearly $45 million, says Frasier. This isn't much above the nearly eight and a half million pounds of wild pinion pine nuts processed in New Mexico in 1936 and shipped as Indian nuts to consumers on the East Coast." Full article.
Current Spotlight: Meet Penny Frazier: Goods from the Woods. These are the individuals whose accomplishments and motivation contribute to MPWGs mission of forging partnerships with industry, government, academia, tribes and environmental organizations to facilitate the sustainable use and the conservation of medicinal plants. Get to know our membership you'll be amazed at what you find! Full story.
One of the hallmarks of agroforestry practices are the environmentally and ecologically protective benefits they generate - especially the preservation and incorporation of valuable native plant species. George and Penny Frazier, owners of Goods from the Woods, an on-farm pine nut and wild craft herbal business, in cooperation with local farmers and natural resources organizations -- including the Center for Agroforestry -- hosted a field day in July to focus on native plant systems and the market opportunities they present. The Fraziers work with neighbors to preserve the fragile Ozark ecosystem through the cultivation of native forest plants and outreach activities to educate fellow landowners, and the public, about the medicinal and household properties found in many native species.
Wild Crops Farm hosts educational native plants field day; explores value-added opportunities. "Echoing the resilient qualities of Missouri's native plants, one of summers hottest days couldn't keep several land and forest owners, natural resources professionals, hobbyists and researchers from gathering in Licking, Mo., in late July to do something good for the land." Full story.
Old Ways New Value. "In 1973, J.D. Vankirk was harvesting wild plants to put food on the table for his family. His plant books contained scribbled notes of prices that year. Thumbing through his old notes, while teaching neighbors in 2003, J.D. knows how the land has changed. His unique background and understanding of the land contribute to the local knowledge and expertise as a new generation prepares to take the responsibility for the earth. That morning, J.D. Vankirk stood in the Frazier kitchen talking about the golden seal he harvested in with his great-uncle in the 1950's. He told her how his patches were destroyed by logging operations in the 1980's. These were places his Uncle had harvested for years -ťplaces where he took J.D. to learn and harvest. J.D. painted a picture of an understory alive and vivid, harvested year after year, tended with loving care sustaining his family for generations - destroyed by skidders." Full story.
Spring is coming hard and fast for George and Penny Frazier at Goods From The Woods, wild Organic Farm in Licking Missouri. The Fraziers are hard at work harvesting the flowers from 10 acres of certified organic wild plum tree stands. Each flower is hand harvested. When sufficent poundage is reached the Fraziers then quickly transport the flowers to a distillation unit that steam extracts the flower essence.
"This year the trees are just exploding, rather than budding slowly" reports Mrs. Frazier. "We are going to have to work twice as fast to meet our production goals.
The wild plums would generally bloom over a 10 day period of time. However, given the unseasonably warm temperatures with days at the 70 degree mark, the tree flowers are rapidly bursting forth . This eclipsed flowering window coupled with a possible decreased number of pollinators may spell additional trouble for wild fruiting. The trees only flower once a year and whatever flowers can be picked and processed over the next few days will have to satisfy their customers.
For the Fraziers it means a quick pick. Since beginning their work with native plant flower essences the Fraziers have developed numerous affiliations with product manufactures in the health and beauty products field. The wild plum flowers have become sought after for use in anti-aging skin products. The flowers have been used in Europe for blood purification, convalescence, exhaustion, fatigue as well as skin disorders. The Fraziers have been the first in Missouri to harvest and distill these native trees for their phyto chemicals which are becoming highly prized ingredients in the organic health and beauty industry.
Health and Beauty products represent he fastest growing segment of the Organic products industry. It showed a 28% growth and sales in excess of 282 million dollars last year. The demand for Certified Organic non-foods items exceeds 1 billion dollars as consumers clamor for pet foods, flowers, and clothing made from certified ingredients.
The Fraziers are careful to harvest just the flowers on the tips of their trees limbs. This enhances the size of the wild plum fruits which will appear later in the season and keeps the fruit closer to the core of the tree lessening limb breakage. These wild plums will then be available for sale to jam makers. Goods From The Woods is also planning on launching a line a boutique certified organic wild fruit leaf teas. The blend will include mulberry, persimmon and wild strawberry leaves.
The growing client list for Goods From The Woods is beginning to see some of the movers and shakers in the high end of health and beauty. "We are getting inquiries from spas and manufactures in places like Australia and Great Britain," Mrs. Frazier reports. "I am just glad we do lots of native flower distillation and not just wild plum."
The Fraziers also produce flower essences from such native plants as elderflower, wild bergamot, and heal all. Each distillation represents a finely crafted artesian product with a pedigree USDA wild plant certification.
Next time you stop and smell the flowers, you might think and wonder what is making this flower smell so good! It might just be the next wonder of the natural world and part of the newest beauty product.
Ran a good, in-depth article "Pine Nuts, Politics and Public Lands" by Penny Frazier of PineNut.com. Full story.
"Penny Frazier, co-owner and developer of Goods from the Woods, a native plant product and botanicals producer in the Ozark region of MO, is hoping Missouri Exchange will help connect her organic products to a range of buyers, especially in urban areas. As consumer interest in certified organic products rises, Goods from the Woods receives requests for organic native plant materials that are difficult to find in adequate quantity. Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“Last year, we needed three times the hickory nuts than we could source. It is very hard to find a method for communicating about these plant products, but Missouri Exchange can be a key component in linking producers to urban markets and manufacturers."
"Pinyon nuts, firewood, and plants for the Holidays. A good place to purchase them online is Goods from the Woods. Pinyon nuts are not cheap, but they are worth it, especially during the holidays." Full story.