Walnuts are hulled at a buying station. (File photo)

The biggest lines in Houston?

The wait to hull walnuts in what is called a bumper year for the crop across the county. Plenty of rainfall in the region is bringing walnuts to buying stations at a record clip. On Tuesday, sellers were in line waiting their turn for machinery that removes the hull, drops the nuts into a green net bag and is weighed. This year’s black gold rush nets sellers $13 per 100 pounds.

Walnuts arrive at the buying station in tubs, sacks, trash cans and anything else that will hold them. On Tuesday, many were tossed in the back of trucks.

Lonnie McGowen, overseeing a buying station on North U.S. 63, said it may be a record year for the harvest.

Hammons Products Co., the largest buyer in the Midwest, estimates it will buy 25 million pounds of walnuts, depending on weather conditions this month.

The wild, natural nuts are popular in fall baking and holiday treats. The hard outer shell is used for a variety of industrial purposes, including oil well drilling, environmental filtration and as a naturally mild abrasive in soaps and cosmetic cleansers.

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