The Nuttery : Volume 11 Number 1 March 1992

In this Issue...

The Nuttery has several sections. The first section reports on significant events or milestones for the Chapter's continuing projects. This issue overviews the forthcoming annual general meeting and also introduce the prospect of publishing a new Chapter cookbook.

The next section seeks out general news. In this issue, George Truscott reports on the Chapter's winter meeting last January. Alec Jones continues with an article on the Winter Woodlot Conference in February at Kemptville.

In the Nut Growers section, a letter from Heather Apple touches on a number of important activities, and also delivers us a letter from Rick Sawatzky from the University of Saskatchewan at Saskatoon on nut growing in that province. Further, if you think you cannot eat horsechestnuts, read the article on this possibility. Lastly, the recipes presented on the Chapter's PBS TV video are provided by Kathleen Jones.

Be sure not to overlook the ads in the Nuttery Marketplace. Somebody may be selling exactly what you need in seeds, stock, or equipment. Remember, if you have something nutty to sell, advertise in the Nuttery Marketplace. The demographics are spot on!

The remaining sections of the Nuttery provided a book sale brochure, the list of current members and phone numbers, the Chapter's brochure and the Membership form.

Letters to the editor, or articles, or comments and criticisms, are always welcome. If you would like to participate in any aspect of publishing the Nuttery, just call the editor. The Nuttery is published by computer, meaning the challenging tasks left to be done are largely the creative ones, such researching, writing, reporting, etc.

Enjoy the read!

Winter Meeting - January 21, 1992

Meeting was held at the Citizen Building on Baxter Road.

Meeting commenced at 7:55 P.M. Opened by Hank Jones, Chairperson.

He spoke of the loss of George Joiner - who was one of the originals & really, the spirit of Baxter Nut Grove. He expressed pleasure at the turnout for the field days last spring and fall.

There were 6 speakers:

1. Ralph McKendry, chair of the Oak Valley Committee.

Years ago Irene Woolford contacted the Ministry concerning a vacant 5 acre site with some pine planted on it. At first Irene did it alone. This past summer Ernie Kerr surveyed and staked it. George Truscott is nurseryman. Hank Jones is ECSONG Representative. Ralph explained how it was surveyed. There are plans to get rid of the Manitoba maple and wild carrot next summer. Hopefully, people will show up for the spring work day.

Ralph spoke of the relationship with the Ministry - also the plan to finalize the relations with them in the next few months in conjunction with Hank Jones. The site goes back to 1802. It has been sub-divided many times. We now have one part of it.

Ralph suggested that the old barn foundation could be used to form cairns as memorials to family farms that were burned out, and now gone. The area could be used for family picnics, etc.

Ralph described the little nursery he and Ernie Kerr built.

2. Bob Scally

Bob specializes in growing Black Walnut and Black Cherry. In the past he has used herbicides to control weeds. Now one must take a course to use these materials. Bob suggested we all take a course. It is one day, and information can be obtained from any Department of Agriculture representative.

A walnut in Bob's backyard produced its first nuts last summer - at an age of 16 years.

Re planting Black walnuts etc. grown in milk cartons - advised pruning the tips of tap roots if necessary, as they are often tangled and folded.

With weed control - it is possible to get 30 inch growth in 3 year old walnuts. With no weed control and a dry year, growth was 1½".

Bob said Shaw Wood, on Highway 41 near Lake Doré, northwest of Eganville, is worth a trip and tour - very tall, but not terribly large trees.

In northwest corner of Pennsylvania they do not plant Black Cherry, but instead, "manage" them. They only cut mature trees when the ground beneath has 70,000 seedlings growing per acre.

Bob is trying this system out on a 100 square foot cleared area, cultivated, broadcast with white ash, and then Black walnut and other trees planted. We will receive progress reports on this experiment. Alec Jones noted that there are Black cherry (mature) growing around the margins of Baxter Nut Grove.

Hank Jones spoke of the Arboretum and associated projects and the nut exchanged with Siberia and Newfoundland.

3. Hank Jones introduced Darryl Abbinett, who showed excellent slides of flowers, nuts, leaves, etc. on nut trees in the arboretum. This is extremely difficult to do, proven by the fact that in books such as Forest Trees of Canada, full trees are photos. Leaves, nuts, flowers etc. are always drawn by an artist.

Darryl's photos were on balance absolutely excellent. As Hank indicated, these photos could be sold to seed houses and nursery companies for use in catalogues, etc.

4. Cliff Craig, Ministry of Natural Resources

Re Baxter Nut Grove - Baxter Liaison Committee.

Planning etc. is a continuous process. The Ministry oversees development and maintenance. Terms of Reference:

For the last ten years, Alec Jones, George Joiner, Mark Schaefer have led the work parties. The appearance of the nut grove today is large a result of the efforts of George Joiner. Anyone interested in giving assistance is welcome. Programs and grants are available to further the grove. We failed last year. Will try again to get a student for the summer. Ministry would handle payroll, compensation, etc. for us.

5. Mark Schaefer.

The Central Research Station set up many years ago on Baseline and Ridge Road. Consists of about 600 acres near the old dump. Moe Anderson planted many trees there. The land was left to the NCC and has been ignored. Much has been lost. Moe wants to rejuvenate it. His original map has been lost, apparently. It may be possible to get the NCC interested in it.

Weed control is very necessary in the growing of trees. Trees will not succeed in heavy grass. So it is necessary to mulch, till or spray with simazine or roundup.

Mark noted that the Ministry at Kemptville has a surplus of good quality Red Oak and White Oak. There are American Chestnut trees on Anderson Road, across from the Geomagnetics Lab, there is a parking lot and the trees are along it.

6. Sue Rocque of Chelsea, Quebec.

Acquired 10 Black Walnuts from Hank last spring. They are planted near Mont St.-Marie ski resort, 160 miles from Ottawa. By fall, 11 trees are growing (last to germinate produced 2 trees).

There were approximately 30 people in attendance. Adjourned at 10:10 P.M.

George Truscott, Secretary

1992 Eastern Ontario Winter Woodlot Conference

The Conference was held at Kemptville College of Agricultural Technology on 13 Feb. 1992. It was the fourth conference in the series "Income from the Farm Woodlot" under the auspices of the Eastern Ontario Agroforestry Committee, and coordinated by Clarence Coons. It was attended by nearly five hundred farmers, private landowners, foresters and members of the lumber industry.

The event got off to an 8 a.m. start with demonstrations of saw-milling machinery, logging equipment, and tools and timber handling devices. It adjourned at 4 p.m. Six papers and a five-operator panel in the afternoon provided a great deal of useful information for woodlot owners on how to go about marketing their timber, from selling it while it still stood on the lot, to delivering their own saw-logs to the mill gate.

There were presentations and discussions also on the construction of buildings on the farm, with lumber produced on the farm. New Ontario legislation, some nor in force and others in preparation, caused considerable controversy. A permit is now required for construction of farm building throughout Ontario, its issuance requiring the farmer to adhere to the 1990 Ontario Farm Building Code. The Code insists on the use of graded lumber. If the farmer intends to use lumber produced on his own farm, he must bring in government-approved graders to inspect and grade his home-produced lumber. (Estimated cost $300 per day.) Many respondents in the audience urged political action to cushion this blow.

A paper presenting the lumber-grading legislation and illustrating the alleged dangers of using un-graded lumber and unapproved building designs by sides showing collapsed barns, was met with some scepticism. Farmers of all ages said they had never seen anything remotely resembling the illustrations in their lives. Finally, one of them pointed out that all the beams shown were new ones!

The Conference was considered by most present to have been very useful and continuance of the series was recommended.

It was noted that the attendance figure, nearly 500, was an all-time record for conferences held under the KCAT Continuing Education Program.

Alec Jones 14 Feb. 1992

P.S. I counted 10 members of ECSONG at the Conference, including: Guy Lefebvre, Kurt Wasner, Mark Schaefer, Maurice Holloway, Len and Denyse Collett, John and Ruth Ecclestone, Kathleen and Alec Jones.

Saskatchewan filberts

Department of Horticulture Science
University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon S7N 0W0
December 23, 1991

Heather Apple
President, Heritage Seed Program
R.R. 3
Uxbridge, Ontario
L0C 1K0

Dear Heather:

Thank you for your letter dated 17 April 91 and your interest in Saskatchewan filberts. I offer my apology for this delayed answer; waiting until the snow flies to do correspondence work has been one of my persistent bad habits.

Edible nut culture on the prairies has been basically 'no where'. To my knowledge there are no named cultivars with one possible exception. A filbert selection that had limited distribution from Honeywood Lilies and Nursery, Box 63, Parkside, SK, S0J 2A0 may have an unregistered name. This selection and a row of sister seedlings grown by Dr. Bert Porter of Honeywood Nursery resulted from the breeding and selection work of the late Dr. Les Kerr who, prior to 1960, obtained Corylus avellana pollen from New York State and used it to pollinate what we think was Corylus americana. We think so because none of the progeny of these genotypes are segregating for a tubular involucur as found in Corylus cornuta. A second reason for the primitive state of nut culture on the prairies is the lack of winter hardiness in other edible nut species with the exception of some seed sources of Juglans nigra which are almost inedible anyway. A third reason is that there have been no clonal propagation techniques suited for our filbert genotypes other than digging suckers.

The good news is that micropropagation techniques may prove very effective in cloning our filbert genotypes and that several superior filbert selections have been made here at the University. Cultural techniques suited to these selections in this climate are beginning to be developed.

Because the propagation problem is looking smaller, some breeding work has been initiated using our hardy filbert selections with the best possible nut quality and non-hardy selections with excellent nut quality as parents. So far we have experienced good fertility in these controlled cross pollinations.

Corylus cornuta, the more common of the two native filbert species in Saskatchewan, is well adapted to our climate but the nuts tend to be quite small and the tubular involucur is very difficult to remove. Also, the involucur of this species has a dense covering of fine prickles that necessitate handling with gloves and/or machinery. However, the flavour of these nuts, in my opinion, is far superior to all other filberts.

In searching through catalogues from Saskatchewan nurseries I did not find any nut trees or shrubs for sale. I suspect that the propagation problem is partly to blame for this situation. I hope that this sketchy information will be of some help to you.

Rick Sawatzky
Tech III, Plant Breeder

Letter from Heather Apple

Jan. 12, 1992

Dear Hank and Mary Jane,

Hello! A very belated thank you for taking me around to the Arboretum and the nut plantings and for your lovely apple cider and jellies. It was a wonderful day and I certainly appreciated all that you did.

I've been frantically busy since I last saw you and it's only now that I'm getting around to doing mail that requires more than just sending out an HSP [Heritage Seed Program] brochure or new membership.

The meetings in Ottawa went very well. I did get a seat on the Expert Committee of Plant Gene Resources. This is very exciting as it gives the HSP a say at a national level on plant preservation policy. It also means that the HSP is being taken seriously by the government and scientists. I'm also a member of one of the subcommittees - the clonal germplasm subcommittee - which I'm really delighted about. It should be helpful for doing our Fruit, Berry and Nut Inventory and also - once it is done - for making the most valuable use of the information we have gathered.

I've started a real push in the HSP towards planting food bearing trees. We're having articles in our magazine on this subject on a regular basis, and once the Inventory is published it will really be helpful.

In an effort to find out what is happening in the Prairies about nut growing, I sent off a letter to Rick Sawatzky at the University of Saskatchewan. Not much is happening, but I've sent along a copy of his letter in case you're interested.

I showed Doug Campbell the leaves and husks of the American chestnuts. When he looked at the husks he wondered if they had been filled, since there weren't strong imprints on the sides. He wondered if they might have been filled with duds - especially since we just found the husks under one tree.

I saw an article (I think it was in Organic Gardening magazine, but I'm not sure) about germinating ginkgo seeds. They said that when the fruit falls of the trees the embryos in the nut aren't fully developed. Therefore, they should be kept in damp peat or sand at room temperature for a couple of months to allow the embryos to develop, and then stratified in the refrigerator for a couple of months. Discovery of this article fell during my busy period, and I didn't make a note of its date. I looked for it before writing you, but couldn't find it. If I do find it, I'll send you a copy.

I just got back from a 10 day trip to England and Wales. The hills of Wales are a bright emerald green and people's backyards are full of brussels sprouts, cabbages and kale. The hedgerows are full of hazelnuts and I saw two oak trees that are well over 1,000 years old - some say nearly 2,000 years old. Managed to find an acorn to bring home and plant!

Recipes from Mrs. Kathleen Jones

'Nut'ting on the Farm' Recipes

These recipes were compiled and prepared for the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) video of the above title. This half-hour program, an episode of "From a Country Garden" hosted by Anstace and Larry Esmonde-White, Kemptville, was filmed in May 1991 and broadcast across North America on 22 February 1992.

Carrot & Hazelnut Cake

3 cups flour        
1 tsp. cinnamon       
1 tsp. salt         
2 cups sugar        
1 1/3 cups salad oil       
1 cup chopped hazelnuts
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups grated carrots

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt & cinnamon in bowl; mix. Beat eggs until very light. Gradually add sugar, beating all the time. Beat until fluffy. Add vanilla. Gradually add in salad oil. Blend in dry ingredients. (Very thick batter.) Stir in carrots and hazelnuts.

Turn batter into well-greased & floured 10 inch tube pan. Bake in 325 degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove & cool. Dust with icing sugar or ice with cream cheese icing. Freezes well. Keeps in fridge up to one month.

Cream Cheese Icing for the Carrot & Hazelnut Cake:

1 8 oz. package. cream cheese
1 lb. icing sugar
2 Tbsp. vanilla
4 Tbsp. butter  

Cream together. Ice cake & decorate with Hazelnuts.

Peach & Nut Conserve

6 cups chopped, peeled peaches
juice of 2 lemons
25 Maraschino cherries, cut in quarters
3¾ cups sugar
1¼ cups chopped walnuts

Combine all ingredients, except nuts, in heavy preserving kettle. Cook, stirring frequently, until thick (about 30 minutes). Add nuts & stir in well. Ladle into hot, sterilized canning jars, filling to top of jars. Seal immediately. Makes 48 fluid ounces.

Fruit & Nut Bars

½ cup sugar          
½ cup butter          
1 tsp. grated orange rind         
2 Tbsp. fresh frozen orange juice concentrate  
¼ tsp. almond extract        
1¼ cups sifted all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 egg
2/3 cup chopped mixed glace fruit
½ cup chopped walnuts or other nuts

Sift and measure flour. Measure fruits into a small bowl. Mix ¼ cup flour with the fruits (if some of the cherries are whole, cut them in half).

Into beater bowl measure the butter, sugar and orange rind. Beat for 5 minutes. Add orange juice concentrate and almond extract and beat in. Add the remaining cup flour, baking soda and salt and beat in. Add egg and beat in. Lift the beater and fold in the fruit and nuts. Turn batter into buttered 9 x 9" pan (greased). Push batter into corners and smooth top. Bake at 350 degrees for 16-18 minutes. Do not over bake. Cool and frost.

Orange Frosting for the Fruit & Nut Bars:

2 Tbsp. butter
1¼ cup icing sugar
1½ Tbsp. fresh frozen orange juice concentrate

Beat until smooth. Spread over cooled bars in pan.

Cut into 1 or 1½" squares or 1 x 2" bars. These freeze well. Decorate with half walnuts or half pecans.

Pecan Pie

¼ cup butter       
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar    
3 eggs              
½ cup corn syrup or molasses    
1 - 1½ cups broken pecans or walnuts
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. salt

Cream together butter and brown sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into 9 inch pie shell which has been baked for 5 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until knife inserted in the filling comes out clean.

Cinnamon-Sugared Pecans (or Walnuts)

1 cup granulated sugar      
1 tsp. cinnamon         
¼ tsp. salt          
6 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2½ cups walnut or pecan halves

Combine sugar, cinnamon, salt and milk in saucepan. Cook, stirring, to soft ball stage (236 degrees on candy thermometer). Remove from heat. Add vanilla and nuts. Stir until creamy. Turn out quickly onto waxed paper and separate nuts. Cool. (Can also use brown sugar.)

Eating Horsechestnuts?

The horsechestnut is poisonous, right? Right! However, there are reports that the toxin can be removed, making the starchy nut edible. Probably not a good idea to try this yet. More research may be needed.

The nuts in question belong to the botanical family Hippocastanaceae, in the genus Aesculus. In North America, they are usually called Buckeyes. The nuts are thin shelled, and their kernels are large. It is easy to harvest large quantities. If only they could be eaten!

Reports on how to clear the nuts of the glucoside toxin aesculin appear in many documents. However, the explanations are so similar, they may simply repeating some single original story. This means it is possible that the procedures are unvalidated and untested.

A combination of roasting followed by leaching is reported for the California Sweet Buckeye (Aesculus californica) by Aboriginals where the tree is native, i.e. California. A pit of hot stones was filled with raw nuts, covered with willow leaves and hot ashes, then left to bake for one to ten hours. (How to decide exactly how long to bake the nuts is not revealed.) Once removed from the pit, the nuts were shelled, thinly sliced, and placed in a stream to leach for two to five days. Or, the roasted nuts were mashed and leached for one to ten hours. The mash was eaten without further preparation. One book notes that though buckeyes grow over much of North America, only the California species is reported as commonly eaten.

If you decide you would rather not try eating horsechestnuts, it has been reported to be satisfactory fish stupifier!

A New Cookbook?

Our little cookbook, 'Recipes in a Nutshell', edited by Polly Jones, has sold out! We printed one hundred fifty of the books, and now all are gone. But the demand is still there and may be growing. The cookbook and the Mark Schaefer's Nut Growers Manual for Eastern Ontario are both selling through 'The Forest Shop' in Brighton and 'The Bookstore' at Upper Canada Village.

The question: Should we reprint? Or should we prepare a new edition? We seem to be leaning towards preparing a new, and expanded, edition. Some suggestions include more information on gathering, storing and cracking nuts; more species included; more recipes, specially some pioneer and aboriginal ones; and so on. If you have ideas, recipes or information, send it on to the Nuttery.

This Year's Annual General Meeting

This year's AGM promises to be jam-packed with information about nut tree growing, getting stock, nut groves, instructional videos, and so on. We will complete our business in the morning, leaving lunchtime and the afternoon free for learning and preparing for spring.

The morning's business this year, like most year's past, will begin with registration starting at 10:00 AM at the Baxter Interpretive Center in the Baxter Conservation Area, thanks to our kind host, the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority. Art Read, Treasurer, manages registration, making sure everyone signs in on arrival, gets their 'Hello' badge: if you have not yet paid dues for this year, Art will be glad to take your money!

The Meeting will begin at 10:30 AM, with the call to order by the Chair, a welcome from our hosts, and establishing the quorum by Secretary George Truscott. Then, the Chair will report on the past year's highlights and accomplishments, following by the Treasurer's report. The report of Bob Scally's Nominations Committee will lead directly to the elections for the executive. Last in the morning, we will hear the reports from the four Chapter committees and the Nuttery. This completes the business, and we break for lunch. During lunch there will be an opportunity for a 45-minute guided tour of the nut grove, weather permitting. There will be some exhibits and a seed exchange. If you have any seed to trade or give, bring it along.

The afternoon begins at 1:00 PM. This year we will be hearing from several speakers on a variety of interesting topics and seeing a video. For example, Dr Colin McKeen will introduce us to the Canadian Chestnut Council. Guy Lefebvre of Source Wood Products in Cornwall will offer new information on tree shelters such as the Tubex and the Tree Pro. The Ministry of Natural Resources will bring us up to date on hardwoods. And we may have a couple of other speakers on a mix of intriguing possible future projects for the Chapter.

The AGM is open to anyone, friends, family, neighbours, etc. Come one, come all for an exciting spring day in the fresh air. For more information on the AGM, call any member of the executive per the banner of the Nuttery.

Provided by ECSONG. Feel free to copy with a credit.