Pinyon nuts are harvested over a 6-state area with diversified land ownership. Additionally, few state and federal land management agencies have reliable systems for tracking pinyon nut harvests over time. As a result, there is no cumulative record of yearly pinyon nut harvests or changes in harvest levels over time.
This page provides excerpts from oral history accounts, news reports, and government documents to illustrate the variability in the pinyon nut crop over time.
If you have information about past or current harvests to post on this site, please send an email to project partner, Penny Frazier, at email@example.com or post the information on the pinyon bulletin board.
The data on BLM-Nevada's pinyon harvest from 1983 to 1989 was obtained from: Born, J.D., R.P. Tymcio, and O.W. Casey. 1992. Nevada Forest Resources. US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. Intermountain Research Station. Resource Bulletin INT-76.
Personal Accounts of Pinyon Harvests
1966 - "And so I went out and really looked at all the crop in the field, and I thought, "You know what I think? I think 200,000 pounds, tops, we'll have 'em all bought." So I talked Fred Cavigia into loanin' us the money, along with what we had, to buy virtually the whole crop. Everybody thought we'd go broke, because they didn't know we'd arranged for the money, and everybody thought, well, we'd never see it through. Well, 385,000 pounds later....." (J.W. Kennedy, Trader)
1936 - "When the dust settled the next spring, there were 8 million pounds. And these pinyons were stored in Santa Fe and Las Vegas, Magdalena, the wool warehouse here in Albuquerque, Gallup, and Flagstaff. And I went to Flagstaff four years later and shipped the last of those pinyons. It took four years to clean up the crop, 'cause in those days, New York was the market. But after World War II, there were thousands of young fellows that spent their time in the Southwest and acquired a liking for pinyons. So today if there's a crop, it takes over a million pounds just to satisfy the demand in the Southwest. That's how the pinyon business evolved. We used to ship millions of pounds." (J.W. Kennedy, Trader)
1917. A journalist for the Christian Science Monitor reported that the pinyon nut harvest was on a two-year cycle, considerably shorter than the seven-year cycle typically observed for Pinus edulis today. Christian Science Monitor 10/20/1917