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Scott A. Brawner and Michele R. Warmund

3.8-m long fruit picker (Ez Connect; Village Blacksmith, Industry, CA). Immediately after harvest, husk hardness (i.e., firmness) and color were recorded. Husk firmness was determined by the dent method and by durometer measurements. The first

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Scott A. Brawner, Michele R. Warmund, and Mark V. Coggeshall

A study was conducted to: 1) evaluate the use of a durometer for determining husk softening and the date of black walnut harvest and 2) elucidate the relationship between husk hardness, kernel color and weight, and date of harvest. Thirty nuts were randomly collected weekly from mature `Sparrow', `Emma K', `Kwik Krop', and `Football' trees from 1 Sept. to 13 Oct. 2004. Husk denting, hardness, and color measurements were recorded immediately after harvest. Husk denting is the method commonly used by growers to determine the optimum time of harvest. Nuts were then hulled within 48 hours and the in-shell fresh weights were recorded. After drying under natural conditions for 5 weeks, kernel color and weights were assessed. On 15 Sept., 99% of `Sparrow' husks dented with a mean durometer value of 54. On 29 Sept., ≥99% of `Emma K' and `Kwik Krop' husks dented with mean durometer values of 63 and 68, respectively. By 13 Oct., 80% of `Football' husks dented with a mean durometer value of 74. From the first harvest date to the time of maximum denting, kernel weight and color (L*, hue values) of `Sparrow' and `Emma K' generally increased. The L* and hue values of `Kwik Krop' were inversely related to increased kernel weight over time. Kernel color of `Football' remained relatively constant as kernel weight increased over time.