A career in the Nut House
Fallbrook farmer grows macadamia nuts and provides custom services for other growers.
Tom Cooper has spent the last 20-plus years in the nut house, but then again, that's his business. Cooper's Nut House is a Fallbrook-based business that caters to fans of macadamia nuts.
What makes Cooper's business different than most others who grow macadamia nut trees commercially is the varying level of service that Cooper's Nut House offers. Many macadamia nut growers sell their crops in the shell or send the nuts somewhere else for processing. Depending on the order, Cooper will de-husk, dehydrate, crack, sort and package--even create a personalized label for a customer's macadamias--all at the Cooper's Nut House site.
"Over the years, it's been fun," Cooper said. "In addition to tending to my groves, I've set up orchards in places like Brazil, Vietnam, and all over the world."
Macadamia nut trees are actually indigenous to Australia, but are grown in various parts of the world, such as Hawaii and Southern California. Cooper has 400 macadamia trees on about three acres at the orchard. The annual yield at Cooper's Nut House is near 20,000 pounds in the shell, he said. His business has been around since 1988, but he has been consulting and offering his services to novice nut growers since 1971.
Surprisingly, one of Cooper's biggest customer bases are macaw handlers, a group of clients that has been building over the last couple of years. Macadamias are a perfect food for the birds, containing the nutrients they need to keep their feathers and skin healthy.
"I have macaw handlers from Connecticut to Florida, and even some in Hawaii," Cooper said,
Occasionally over the last couple of years, Cooper has received calls from people overseas eager to make orders. In addition, Tom has become the unofficial "macadamia nut" guru of California, so when people want to know about the nut and how to grow it, they now where to come--the Nut House.
For more information about Cooper's Nuts, visit www.coopersnuthouse.com