The Nuttery : Volume 14 Number 4 1995

In this Issue...

Take note... the Annual General Meeting of the Eastern Chapter of the Society of Ontario Nut Growers will take place on Saturday March 16, 1996 at the McManus Interpretive Centre in the Baxter Conservation Area. See the Announcement Box below and the details inside this issue of The Nuttery

What will happen to the G. Howard Ferguson Nursery, now that the Ontario government has decided to close it? See the article in the News Section. ECSONG mounted its biggest exhibit ever at the Woodlot Conference in KCAT this past mid-February. We also exhibited at the RVCF's Envirofest day at the Baxter Conservation Area last fall. And we have an opportunity to exhibit at the Home Show in April. Also, we can offer to participate in another episode of "From a Country Garden", if we can come up with a suitable theme. Did you know the Amish use nut stuff in their medicines? Acorns were a food for "hard times" according to Billy Joe Tatum, in her cookbook reviewed in this issue.

How are the Chapter's projects coming along? Find inside reports on the Dolman Ridge Plantations, on the Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove, and on the Oak Valley Plantation. Also, there is an update on the changing status of Canada's National Arboretum. The Eastern Ontario Nut Tree Culture (EONTC) Project is asking for your ideas on its future direction. Lastly, under Chapter projects, highlights of two reports, one on nut contests and the other on nut surveys, are presented.

For the Nut Grower, there is an article on the suitability of acorns as food for sheep. Carol Parker seeks participants for a nut dyeing workshop this fall. More ginkgo folklore, this time from the Internet. Terry McEvoy tells about a process that can make honey sliceable when nut flours are added. And lastly, an updated on Alcon's nut hulling service with an eye to this year coming harvest.

Scrutinize the Nuttery Marketplace for your seed and stock sources for this spring. Review the members list for friends and neighbours you haven't met yet. And offer the application form to someone who should join... or use it to send in your own dues.

Send the Nuttery articles and letters! Please type, if possible, or better yet send your material on diskette.

See you at the AGM!

ECSONG 1995/96 AGM

The Annual General Meeting of ECSONG will be held on Saturday, March 16, 1996 at the Patrick J. McManus Interpretive Centre at the Baxter Conservation Area between Kars and Kemptville. The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) will be our host. See the map for directions

Registration starts at 9:30 AM. Business will be completed in the morning. A tour of the Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove will take place during the long lunch break. The afternoon, till the meeting ends at about 3:00PM, will be given to technical presentations. The theme this year is Nut Growing 101, the basics. There will a number of videos shown.

Bring a lunch and cold drinks. Also, bring any nut dishes you care to make for attendees to sample. Coffee will be available.

Space is available for small exhibits. Bring along any items of interest such as nut cracker, pruners grafting tools, nut and nutwood handicrafts, etc., that you would like attendees to see.

The G. Howard Ferguson Nursery

Near Kemptville, the provincial G. Howard Ferguson Nursery is being shut down by the Ontario government. The decision to close the establishment this spring has caused widespread dismay amongst local tree growers who have come to depend on the nursery as a source of seedlings of many species, at a low price. Attempts have been made by a number of individuals and organizations to rescue the facility by various proposals, but with little encouragement from the government. At the same time, if there is a strong demand for seedlings as seems to be the case then this closure could be an opportunity for nurseryman to gear up production here, to supply this market.

Ted Cormier can fill you in on the details of this situation.

1996 Winter Woodlot Conference

The 1996 Eastern Ontario Winter Woodlot Conference was held Thursday, February 15 at the Kemptville College of Agricultural Technology. The theme was "harvesting unconventional products from the woodlot". It drew over three hundred people. Ted Cormier gave a presentation on Nut Tree Culture, and the nut growers mounted a large exhibit.

The nut exhibit was a double booth twenty feet long by ten feet deep. The ECSONG exhibit provided the back drop, Alcon's red nut huller and green nut huller bracketed the space, two long tables were needed to hold all the handouts, and our VCR played at one end.

Ted Cormier and Isabelle Cormier (The Seed Source), Alec Jones, Kathleen Jones (leg cast and all!), Mark Jones (Alcon) and Hank Jones (Cobjon) manned the booth. Guy Lefebvre (Source Wood Products), there in spirit, couriered literature to booth.

Before we have even completed setting up at 9:00 am, visitors were scooping up our handouts, and wanting to talk. The talking did not let up till nearly 4:00 pm! Many, many people were keen to talk nuts and nut trees. Oaks were high on the agenda. It was clear to all of us there that nut trees are moving to the forefront of interest for tree people and farmers in the region.

Envirofest '95

October 1 1995 was a beautiful fall day and the prayers of a busy group of organizers were answered. Members and supporters of the Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation had worked through the summer to organize the first Baxter Benefit Envirofest. That day all the work had to come together and come together it did.

The RCVF has been around for many years supporting the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority and it's work in the watershed. It initially existed as a vehicle to accept donations but with these difficult economic times it has changed it focus and has become more active in fundraising. It is directing it's energy to raise funds and involve the community in stewardship of the Rideau watershed.

Envirofest was planned to utilize the community in a family oriented event with the object of raising funds for improvements at Baxter. The project chosen was the improvement of the trail system with a boardwalk. Any one who has been to Baxter during a wet spring knows what a flood plain is. The trails can become quite messy. Five hundred feet of boardwalk was to be built for the worst sections of various trails.

Various activities were going on during the day. Local Guide and Scout groups camped over night and showcased their skills to the public as well as provided games for the children. Guided walks took place during the day on the topics of wildlife, trees and flood plains. By happy coincidence we had organized this event on Ontario Hiking Day. As people hiked the trails everyone was asked to help move bark mulch and drop it on the trails in low wet spots. ECSONG participated by giving tours of the nut grove and providing information and displays at the Patrick J. McManus Center. The display was busy all day and the nut grove had a record number of visitors for one day. All these activities centered around the barbecuing of a side of beef and other refreshments which kept the participants energized.

When everything was finished the event raised $2,110.68 and inspired two donations for $3000.00 each from Canada Trust's Friends of the Environment Foundation and the Manotick Kiwanis. This put the project well on its way and as you read this the five Hundred feet of boardwalk has been built and is ready for placement this spring. r The Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation would like to thank ECSONG for their participation in the first Baxter Benefit Envirofest. The volunteers and their expertise greatly added to the event. Two other fund-raisers the Foundation presently has going are a canoe raffle and an Earth Day Concert. The canoe has been provided by the Swift Canoe Company from Algonquin Park. The Earth Day Concert will be on the evening of April 19 at Gloucester High School and will feature the Canadian Armed Forces Band. Information and tickets for either of the above can be had by calling myself or the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority at (613) 692-3571.

Terry McEvoy Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation

The Home Show

The annual Home Show at Lansdowne Park takes place this year from April 6 through April 9. There will a gardening section in the Horticulture Pavilion with part of the exhibit space devoted to non-profit organizations promoting growing. ECSONG has been invited to take a free, 8 by 8 foot booth. To do so means we will be obliged to man the booth continuously during exhibit hours.

ECSONG has an exhibit for the booth, and a brochure that can be handed out. Beyond that, promoting nut growing is primarily one-on-one between keen growers and curious visitors. If you would like to take a turn, please let The Nuttery or any executive member know as soon as possible.

From a Country Garden

Many readers have undoubtedly viewed the PBS series "From a Country Garden" on the US public broadcasting system. But maybe you do not know that the program is produced here in eastern Ontario near Kemptville! Anstace and Larry Esmonde-White live and garden just two minutes south of KCAT. It is often their own gardens that they feature in their programs.

A couple of years ago, ECSONG helped make an episode called "Nutt'ing on the Farm" which demonstrated the value and methods for growing nut trees and shrubs in a garden setting. The episode has proved very successful. We again have the opportunity to make another episode. This episode is now in search for a particular theme revolving about nutting on the farm.

Got ideas? Got a script even? Send your ideas The Nuttery.

The Amish Medicines and Nuts

Alec Jones provides a book entitled "The Wisdom of Amish Folk Medicine" by Patrick Quillan, which notes the use of nuts and their byproducts in a number of remedies....

An Amish cereal recipe high in roughage: 6 cups oatmeal; 1 c. shredded coconut; 3 c. wheat germ; ½ c. chopped almonds; ½c. chopped pecans; 1.5 c. brown sugar; ½ tsp. salt; ½ c. vegetable oil. Mix in bowl and toast till crunchy.

For coughs: Steep four chestnut leaves in one pint boiling water; sweeten with honey; drink 5-6 times daily. And: mix ¼ oz. lobelia, black cohosh root and chestnut leaves in a jar; pour ½ pint boiling water and let stand 30 minutes; strain, add 1 lb sugar, and bring to a boil; remove scum; give 1 tsp. every hour to children.

For diabetes: in addition to the doctor's directions, consider: drink 3 cups daily of tea made from ¼ avocado leaf, one eucalyptus leaf and one walnut leaf.

For diarrhea: Brew a tea from white oak bark.

To rid the body of worms: a syrup of fennel seed, black walnut hulls, senna leaves, male fern, tansey, tame sage and wormwood.

A tea made from chestnut leaves for menopause.

For the memory: eat hazel nuts for nine days; six on the first day; then add an extra nut each day.

Ed note: another recipe calls for 'muscot nuts'. Anyone know what these are??

Ginkgo biloba extract dramatically increases blood flow and thus improves memory on older adults

Make a tea from: white oak bark, comfrey root, marshmallow root, mullein, black walnut hulls, gravel root, wormwood, lobelia, and skullcap; drink daily to speed the healing of a broke bone.

Nut Cookery

The following cookbook has interesting recipes for wild plants including nuts. Acorns are said to be for 'hard times' because that are so plentiful and free. Hickories are easier to crack and separate if they are pressure cooked for ten minutes at five pounds in a pressure cooker. Toast them for a few minutes afterwards at 300 degrees F to crisp them up. Lots of other hints and many recipes about these and other nuts

Tatum, Billy Joe. 1976. "Billy Joe Tatum's Wild Foods Cookbook and Field Guide." Workman Publishing Company, Inc., 231 East 51 Street, New York, NY 10022. pp 268.

Dolman Ridge Project

Back in the mid-seventies, when the Dolman Ridge / Mer Bleu area contained the Central Forest, Forestry Canada's staff planted many nut trees that are now producing. The time has come to release these trees to enable their improve growth for the 21st century.

Steve Palmer's committee, including ECSONG members, the NCC, OMNR and the Canadian Chestnut Council, is preparing to begin work this spring. The Eastern Ontario Nut Tree Culture Project has allocated $1000 dollars to help the committee clear around the nut trees and produce information for the public.

This is an exciting project! There are black walnut, butternut, American chestnut and oak plantations producing seed that members can collect to grow. There are also horsechestnut, beech, shagbark, and bitternut.

The group could use all the help it can get. This is a grand opportunity to seen the place and become familiar with the plantations as potential seed sources. Give Steve a call.

Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove

ECSONG's oldest nut plantation, at the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority's Baxter Conservation Area, the FRP Nut Grove is now in its eighteenth year, and looking better all the time. There are nearly thirty species and cultivar already growing, and more on the way.

The first event for the nut grove in the year is the tour that takes place in conjunction with ECSONG's Annual General Meeting, which is traditionally held at the Baxter Conservation Area. During the lunch, attendees can walk to the nut grove and familiarize themselves with the trees.

In May, usually on the first and sometimes also on the second Saturday, the nut grove hosts its spring field days, everyone welcome. There will be others events during the coming year. Watch for announcements in future issues of the Nuttery.

The FRP Liaison Committee, chaired by Cliff Craig, secretary Alec Jones, and including Mark Schaefer, Sandy Graham, Dave Johnstone, Allan Gillis, and Ted Cormier. New members always welcome.

Oak Valley grows!

The Oak Valley Plantation project has reached the first five-year milestone in its long range plan, called "Vision 20/20" which sets the goal for the plantation for the year 2020.

It is time to review the long term plan to ensure its goal is still valid and desirable, and that the work is on track. The Oak Valley Plantation Liaison Committee, involving ECSONG and the South Nation River Conservation Authority (SNRCA), owner of the site, includes permanent members Ralph McKendry (chair), Irene Woolford, George Truscott, Ernie Kerr, and the SNRCA Forester. Needless to say, the excitement developed by this project, stimulated by Ralph McKendry, attracts many participants to the plantation's spring and fall field days, As well as ECSONG members, as growing number of residents and organizations residing the Oak Valley area are becoming involved. The plantation is quickly becoming an important element of life in the Winchester Springs and surrounding area.

This year, the Spring field day is slated for Saturday, May 18, 1996. Watch for the Spring edition of The Nuttery for details. Also, anyone wishing to join the Liaison Committee will be heartily welcomed by Ralph!

Update on Canada's National Arboretum

The government appears set to abandon Canada's Dominion Arboretum which has been in operation since the 1880s. In an ongoing attempt to save this venerable institution, as of this date, an organization called Arboretum Canada Trust has been set up by the Friends of the Farm. The Trust proposes to take over responsibility for the Arboretum and its grounds progressively over ten years. Government funding and personnel support would taper off to 50% by five years, and reach zero by ten years. As government retired, the Trust would replace them. The Arboretum requires about $500,000 per year to operate. It is one of the major tourist attractions in this region. In the past it was a major horticulture and silviculture research facility. Canada, seen by the world as the land of trees, can hardly afford not to have a flourishing arboretum, otherwise other countries may feel Canada takes its trees for granted and might have a cavalier attitude toward them. World public opinion is important today where natural resources are concerned. If you do not think this is true, ask Canada's Sealers!

Support Canada's Arboretum. Let your member of parliament know Canada needs to revitalize its world-class arboretum, not abandon it! ECSONG's contact is Alec Jones.

Whither the Eastern Ontario Nut Tree Culture Project?

As the first six year funding on the federal Model Forest Program comes to an end, there is speculation that its success may garner it a second term. In this region, the program has supported the Eastern Ontario Model Forest, Inc. (EOMF). EOMF in turn has keenly supported out Eastern Ontario Nut Tree Culture Project (EONTC) under the direction of Ted Cormier. This project has planted many and varied kinds of nut trees around the region. It has also supported the development of specialized equipment for processing nuts.

If this second term materializes, then the EONTC will want to revisit its basic plan. Ted is asking ECSONG for ideas on what new and different initiatives might be undertaken by the EONTC in the coming years. Let him know what you think.

Nut Contests and Surveys

During 1995, the Eastern Ontario Nut Tree Culture Project (EONTC) commissioned two plans to be made, one about nut contests and the other about a national survey of nut production in Canada. The EONTC is a joint project of the Eastern Ontario Model Forest Inc. (EOMF) and ECSONG. Ted Cormier is the project manager. The project aims to speed the development of nut growing in this region.

The two works were completed by Cobjon Enterprise Inc. of Ottawa. The Nut Contest plan provides a modus operandi whereby ECSONG, or other like groups, could conduct many kinds of nut contests, for a multiplicity of purposes, and thus promote nut growing, speed the planting of superior varieties, and find many more uses and users of nuts, and nut products. The plan also provides for the long term accumulation of data about the contests, their goals, participants, results and new knowledge. This feature is vital to the long term success of nut growing because the contests provide inter alia the important data on found and superior nut and nut tree qualities and performance that growers in future need to tap in order to succeed.

The Nut Production Survey plan provides a modus operandi for ECSONG to commission a survey to be done across Canada, or within regions. The plan would ensure that the information collected would be reliable, and that the collecting process would be relatively easy on those surveyed. The information would help growers foresee changing interests amongst their colleague growers re species and cultivars, methods of cultivation, growth of harvests, mechanisms of harvesting, processing and storing crops, and future markets for product.

For more information contact either ECSONG, EONTC, Cobjon (613-723-9648) of The Nuttery.

Acorns and Sheep

Alec Jones passes along this letter published in the Agroforestry Review, Volume 4, No. 1 Fall 1983, form Melinda Y. Small, Cross Country Farm, RFD # 2, Bowdoin, ME 04008...

"In Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture, J. Russell Smith devotes a chapter to acorns as a forage crop, with particular emphasis on the consumption of these seeds by pigs. He also quotes form a 1912 article that mentions sheep under and oak tree hunting acorns. So when a friend told me she spent the day raking acorns to make her yard walkable, I rushed to pick them up before the garbage truck.

The acorns were mostly from red oaks and were very bitter to the taste. After soaking them in water, there were less bitter, but still too bitter for me to enjoy. But my sheep ate them readily. I fed the acorns as kernels alone, as crushed shells and kernels, and as whole nuts. The sheep ate them in any form, but my preference is for whole nuts ... less labour. About half of the whole nuts split after soaking.

When sheep eat acorns, just what nutritional value are they getting? Smith reports that acorns are relatively low in protein (2.5%), but high in carbohydrates (34.8%). Thus they would not be a balanced ration for sheep; their use would require a protein supplement. The next question is whether sheep can adequately digest acorns. Smith cites a study of acorn digestibility for hogs indicating that hogs get digestible carbohydrates even for the shells. He dose not report digestibility data for sheep. I would appreciate comments and additional information on acorns as sheep feed"

There are a number of shepherds and pig farmers in our region who might be interested in acorn feed. Also, it is known that wild turkeys, deer and cattle are nut eaters, even black walnuts and butternuts are said to be eaten by them. Imagine, natural nut-nourished fancy meats exported from Canada, the Land of Trees, to the global marketplace! A compelling market strategy, I believe.

Dyeing wool with Nut Hulls

Work is underway to organize the promised workshop by Carol Parker on dyeing with nuts. Carol suggests that outdoors would be best, using a wood heater to boil the dye. Carol writes "I can have the dyes ready to put the wool into, and then talk about how to make them, and how to get different shades while the wool is boiling. This would be suitable for about 10-12 people"

Carol continues " Alternatively, we could do a more complex workshop and do all the preparation of the wool on site plus the mordanting, and then the dyeing".

The first option would be about a half day, whereas the second would be a full day.

The Baxter Conservation Area has the ideal facility if we could use it. Outside the McManus Center there are BBQs that could be used for boiling. Inside is well equipped for making presentations, and is also equipped with a kitchen. A September workshop could expect excellent weather.

The workshop should be widely publicized. Besides ECSONG members, there are many fabric crafts people in the regional who might also want to attend. How do we find these folks?

If you are interested in the workshop, please get in touch with The Nuttery, or call Carol.

A Nut Flour and Honey Product

The patent for the product below was granted in 1990 with royalties to go to the Ontario Beekeepers Association. At this time I am not aware of any one using the process.

The Ontario Ministry of agriculture and Food, the Ontario beekeepers' Association and the University of Guelph have teamed-up to commercialize "sliceable honey." A U.S. patent has been granted for the formulation and the production process.

Studies show that there is a market for sliceable honey. There is no mess or inconvenience to the consumer and it is easily stored. Negotiations are being held with manufacturers to produce it commercially. The product will likely be sold in either loaves or individual slices, like processed cheese.

The OMAF-developed production process is natural and unique. To make the normally viscous honey solidify, ground nut flour -- which acts as a natural thickener -- is introduced into the pasteurization process. There are many products, like ice cream, that use a thickener to achieve the desired consistency. You don't notice the thickener in those products, and the flour will not distract from the taste of sliceable honey.

The University's small business consulting service conducted a study of potential uses and they were identified as follows:

- spread on toast, waffles, tea biscuits, sandwiches, etc. - hors d'oeuvres on crackers - cubed for sweetening tea and coffee - melted for glazing on hams, chicken, meat loaves, etc. - formed into dessert "honey cups' - eaten by itself as a quick energy snack - moulded into food sculptures for buffet displays - generally, as a replacement for sugar

The University's manager says, "We're doing for honey what the bread slicer did for bread in the 1920's".

The Research Committee of the OBA initiated this project in 1986 and solicited honey from beekeepers to test the above product. Thanks to those who contributed!

Nut hulling revisited

For those readers who harvest, or want to harvest, black walnuts, butternuts, Japanese walnuts, heartnuts, buartnuts, hickories, coffee tree, locust or even ginkgoes, but find hand hulling their crops arduous or worse, take heart!

Last fall, Alcon of Nepean introduced a new service in the Eastern Ontario region which has made hand hulling a task of the past. Alcon has develop a machine called "The Nut Huller" to do the work. Two of these mechanical hullers, electrically driven, are now in operation for DIY or full service hulling at Alcon shop at 149 Bentley Ave (Unit 5B) in Nepean. A radical new design is also under development which aims to make the work even easier and cleaner.

The Nut Huller machines are now being advertised in Canada through The Grimo Nut Nursery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and in the USA through the Northern Nut Growers Association (NNGA) and the Pennsylvania Nut Growers Association (PNGA), The machine was also written up in a recent edition of HortIdeas, a newsletter published in Kentucky.

Alcon is also beginning work on powered nut crackers and on special equipment for processing acorns in large quantities. For more information contact Mark Jones at Alcon 613-723-9648, or drop by for a visit.

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