Like just about everyone else, I hate talking on the phone, especially when it involves trying to get straight, reliable answers out of people who are obviously trying to hide the fact that they have no idea what they’re talking about and who are, for whatever reason, weirdly resistant to the idea of going and finding out the answer to my questions—or, better yet, transferring my call to someone half-competent. Fortunately, though, running this blog has turned me into a call-making pro: I phrase my questions strategically. I push for the double-check. Sometimes I even—gasp—leave voicemails.
These days, I have it all down to a science—and I fully expected to need to use every last ounce of that science to compile this list. But you know what? Pretty much every single person I spoke with at the companies listed below was kind, knowledgeable, and helpful. I had absolutely no trouble getting straight answers out of these folks—so if you’re looking to double-check (as you ought to) on what I’ve found…well, you’re probably in for an un-infuriating experience, at least.
Anyway. Why have I put all this effort into compiling a list of things I (and most of my readers) can’t actually eat? Because single-nut companies (as I’ve just decided to call them) are a hot commodity in the food-allergy world. Not everyone who’s allergic to tree nuts is allergic to all tree nuts—and the way those who’ve been diagnosed with a generalized tree-nut allergy find out that they are, in fact, okay with some nuts is via food challenging, which process absolutely requires access to cross contamination–free nuts.
(Think of it this way: You test positive for allergies to all tree nuts, but your allergist has a suspicion that you might actually be able to tolerate almonds. For your almond challenge—which is basically just a few hours of sitting around your allergist’s office, eating (controlled amounts of) almonds—you’ll need to bring in some almonds that you know contain nothing but almond. That way, if you fail the challenge, you’ll know your reaction was to the almonds themselves, rather than a trace amount of, say, cashew.)
It’s a matter of keeping your variables under control. But if you’ve arrived at this guide, you probably already know all this and more. You’re probably gearing up for a food challenge—as I hope soon to be!—and you’re probably also ready for me to just go ahead and start the list already. First, though, a few notes:
- As with every single piece of information I’ve ever posted, you ought to double-check the relevant facts before shelling out (ha) for any of these nuts. Things change—but this isn’t a living document, and while I might update it, I make no promises. It’s meant to serve only as a starting point.
- Though they aren’t the focus of this list, I’ve included a few of the nut and nut-based butters, pastes, etc., that are known in the food-allergy community as good (i.e. reliably cross contamination–free) products to use for food challenges. This isn’t a list of butters and pastes, though; I’m sure there are a bunch of safe ones that I haven’t looked into.
- Some of these cases aren’t as simple as others. If I’ve just listed a company’s name, without any sort of annotation, then it’s safe to assume I was told that the nut in question comes from a single-nut facility, plain and simple. If I’ve included a warning, though, do be sure to read it before going ahead and tracking down the product.
- Looking for tree nut–free peanuts and peanut butters? You’re on the wrong page.
Okay. Done. Here are all the companies I’ve found that offer cross contamination–free tree nuts:
- Barney Butter
- Big Tree Organic Farms (The organic whole natural almonds are the only ones they process in their own [almond-only] facility. The blanched almonds come from a separate almond-only facility, and are thus safe, too. The other products might be made in either of two additional facilities: one’s almond-only, and one isn’t, but the one that isn’t follows a rather intense set of allergen-control protocols.)
- Fat Uncle Farms
- MadiK’s Almonds
- NaturAlmond (George Grinders makes cashew and peanut butters, too, but not in the NaturAlmond facility.)
- Valley Harvest Nut Co.
- Wonderful Almonds (Wonderful sells pistachios, too, but they’re handled in a separate facility.)
- Zinke Orchards
- Freddy Guys Hazelnuts (“While we are a dedicated hazelnut processor we ask that you not purchase our hazelnuts.” Do with that what you will—they haven’t responded to any of my emails or voicemails since emailing me that sentence and that sentence alone.)
- Honor Earth Farm (Their facilities are hazelnut-only, but the raw hazelnuts are the only ones they don’t send elsewhere for processing. Unfortunately, those raw hazelnuts are only available in bulk.)
- Ken and June’s Oregon Hazelnuts (Hazelnuts are the only tree nuts in their kitchen, but do note that there is peanut oil used in the roasted-and-salted hazelnuts.)
- Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company (Plain and salted only, though. The seasoned nuts might be cross-contaminated.)
- Hawaii’s Local Buzz
- Berdoll Pecan Candy & Gift Co. (There are no other tree nuts on site, but the fudge, which is made in a separate room, does contain peanuts.)
- Cello Pecans
- Pearson Farm
- Pecan Point Farm and Creamery
- Surratt Farms
- American Pine Nuts (They sell other nuts, but only by way of a separate facility.)
- New Mexico Piñon Nut Company
- Fiddyment Farms
- Keenan Farms
- Santa Barbara Pistachio Company
- Setton Farms (The bagged pistachios are from a pistachio-only facility, but the ones that come in plastic containers aren’t.)
- Wonderful Pistachios (Wonderful sells almonds, too, but they’re handled in a separate facility.)
- Daniels Farm
- Fillmore Farms
- GoldRiver Orchards (They don’t ship to individuals, apparently—but I’m told there’s a Raley’s in Oakdale that does carry their walnuts and that will ship to individuals.)
- Haag Farm
- Hammons Black Walnuts
Odds and Ends
Not enough? Averse to online ordering? Drawn to the prospect of putting in a whole bunch of extra effort? Really into the scent of your new dish soap? Here are some other ideas to consider:
- Futters Nut Butters: They make almond, brazil-nut, cashew, hazelnut, macadamia, pecan, pistachio, pumpkin-seed, sunflower-seed, and walnut butters, all in a gluten-, dairy-, and peanut-free facility. All those tree nuts are handled in the same general area, yes—but they only grind one nut (or seed) per day, and they take great care to minimize the risk of cross-contamination.
- Trader Joe’s: In some regions, some Trader Joe’s nuts do come from single-nut facilities. There’s no one-size way to tell, though, so you’re best off just singling out the nuts you’re interested in and then calling their oddly helpful hotline (626-599-3700) for details. You never know—and surprisingly enough, the odds are actually decent.
- Shelling and/or washing your own nuts: Should all else fail, it’s certainly an option. Just buy some nuts—shelled, in-shell, whatever it is you’re comfortable with—and then slather on the dish soap, rinse, dry, and…well, eat. Some will say that only nuts bought pre-shelled need to be washed; others prefer the peace of mind that comes with buying nuts in-shell and then scrubbing those shells down before cracking. It’s up to you, really.
P.S. No, I didn’t buy a bowl of poison just so I could photograph it for this post. I may spend a lot of time on the phone for y’all, but I don’t love you that much. Source.