Pine nuts, also known as pinoli, pión, or pignoli, are edible seeds that grow in the cone of the pine tree. Twenty-nine species of pines produce edible nuts. Only a small portion of those species is traded locally, but the rest are farmed elsewhere. Of those, twenty are cultivated in temperate regions.
In the Paiute homeland, families worked together to feed their families and make ends meet. They gathered pinenuts throughout the autumn to store them for winter. Each member of the family was assigned a specific job during the harvest. In the summer, the young Paiute men began scouting the mountains for promising pinenut groves. Once the nuts were ripe, the families began their pilgrimages. The journey took days, but the payoffs were worth it.
The Paiute people harvested pinenuts by hand, and the trees in the forest were prized for their edible seeds. The harvest provided a necessary source of food for the families, and they relied on the annual harvest to survive. The Paiute people shared the tasks to ensure the success of the pinenut harvest and to secure a coveted and challenging food source. The entire community helped each other through the long winter and fought off the cold. And, they still gather pinenuts today.