by LAURA BODE
he process of bringing cashews
to market is nothing short of
extraordinary. “Many people
aren’t aware of just how chal-
lenging it is to harvest and prepare these
nuts for their journey to Costco,” says
Justin Knapp, Kirkland Signature™
foods buyer. (As far as I knew, for exam-
ple, they grew in California and you just
shook the trees to gather them. Um.
Wrong.) For Costco buyers, it is a multistep process that involves visiting farms,
processing and packaging facilities, and
communities in multiple countries
across the globe, with an emphasis on
both quality and sustainability.
Where and how do cashews grow?
Drought-resistant cashew trees
are native to Brazil and now grow in
many parts of the world. Costco sources
its cashews mainly from Africa and
Vietnam, says Knapp.
Cashew trees can live upward of ;;
years, and their growing cycle is March
through May for the majority of the crop.
As cashew season approaches, little
“apples” start to appear on the tree. Out
of each of these “apples” (which are not
really a fruit, but the swollen end of the
stem just above the cashew nut), a single
cashew nut forms.
Cashew harvesting takes place about
two months after the nut forms, when the
apple turns a pinkish-red color and the
nut turns gray. Farmers wait until the
fruit falls to the ground, then twist the nut
off by hand.
cashews must be dried, shelled, blanched,
Nuts for perfection
Costco’s Kirkland Signature cashews buying team
brings passion to its worldwide private-label program
Laura Bode, a freelance writer based in
fills this month’s
consumer reporter slot with this
look at a Costco
this article to buying
Left: Cashews grow beneath
their cashew “apples.”
Above: Sorting cashews.