The Nuttery : Volume 16 Number 1 (1997)

In this Issue...

In Announcements, note the three spring field days, at Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove (Sandy Graham), at Oak Valley Plantation (Ralph McKendry), and at Dolman Ridge Plantations (Hank Jones).

In the Projects section, read about the past AGM, and its message on nut pines; the Ottawa Spring Home Show enjoyed ECSONG participation again this year; ECSONG on web goes well; and Bramwell's Mutations Experiment gets underway.

In the News, review the Nuts-To-Gro!, and the Bag O'Nuts product lines; see two more nut pickle recipes; consider the Sam Jakes Horticultural Weekend; join Claire Johnstone's Scouts at Voyageur Park; imagine Beulah Bland's Nut Jewelry; nut dyes come of age with Evelyn Davies; Gillian Gailey seeks beaked hazel; and Ted Myers pictures acorns.

For the Grower, opportunities at Mostly Danish; homes for grafted trees; movement at the G. Howard Ferguson Nursery; Riley on Bur Oak; and Murff nuts to pickle this spring.

Check out nut seed, stock, materials and information suppliers in the Nuttery Marketplace.

And last but not least, in the Membership section see the tentative ECSONG calendar for the year; our current members; the ECSONG Brochure, and; Membership Application Form for renewing your membership, or for new members.

See y'all at the Spring Field Days!

Fillmore R. Park Spring Field Day

The Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove is coming up on its twentieth anniversary next year, and is already a beautiful place to visit any time of the year. Spring is one of the best times, as the buds are beginning to burst on the trees, as life returns after the long winter dormancy.

The spring field day at the grove in the Baxter Conservation area just south of Kars, Ontario, offers many opportunities to novice as well as experts nut grower, and to folks who are just starting to thinks nuts. Because new planting is a continual process, there are nut plants from seedling, to twenty-year-olds now bearing.

See and experience with experts planting and caring procedures for nut plants at this field day. See the adjacent map for directions. Starting at 10:00 am on the morning of Saturday, May 10 1997, you can participate through the morning and afternoon if you wish. Bring your lunch and refreshments, your favourite gardening tools, your family, friends and neighbours. The field day is open to all!

For more information contact Sandy Graham, in Kars, at 489-4159.

Oak Valley Spring Field Day

On the banks of the South Nation River just west of Winchester Springs, Ontario, the Oak Valley Plantation is an eight-acre nut grove featuring black walnut, white oak, red oak and other species. Also the home of the Pioneer Homestead Memorial Park, the plantation's Truscott Nursery experiments with ways and means to germinate, grow and transplant nut trees and shrubs. The nursery inspired the ECSONG "Nuts-to-Gro!" kits to simplify starting new plants, and the "ECSONG Nut Cell" for seedling protection in the field.

The Spring Field Day at Oak Valley is very much a doers day, when participants can see and experience all activities associated with germination through care of young trees. The program on Saturday, May 17, 1997 begins at 10:00 AM. Visitors can participate for half the day or the whole day. The field day is open to all: members, family, friends and neighbours, young and old alike!

Bring your favourite gardening tools, refreshments, lunch (if you plan to stay the day) and all relatives. For more information, contact Ralph McKendry, Ottawa, 728-6511.

Dolman Ridge Spring Field Day

The Dolman Ridge area of the Mer Bleu Bog, just East of Ottawa, the nation's capital, is home to many plantations of nut trees started in the 1970's by staff of the Central Research Forest of the Canadian Forestry Service.

Starring the sweet American Chestnut and the Black Walnut, the site offers also butternuts, oaks, hickories, horsechestnut, kentucky coffee tree, Korean nut pines and so on. Many of the trees are now of seed bearing age, and offer a source of small quantities of nuts for experimental growers or for home landscaping.

The half-day Spring Field day, to be held on Saturday, May 31, 1997 starting at 10:00 am in the morning, will tour key plantations so the participants can learn to recognize the species, and to diagnose problems. The tour meets at the parking lot on Anderson Road across from the entrance to the Geomagnetics Laboratory.

For more information contact The Nuttery editor.

Dominion Arboretum Spring Visitation Day

The Dominion Arboretum, over one hundred years old, is part of the Dominion Experimental Farm in the heart of the Ottawa, the nation's capital. There are over seventy nut trees and shrubs from around the world there, many mature and magnificent.

This spring, visitors will have an opportunity to tour the nut plants with and expert guide. The Arboretum is located on the traffic circle junction of the Prince of Wales Drive and the National Capital Commission Driveway by Dow's Lake.

ECSONG Annual General Meeting Report

The AGM '96/97 took place at the McMannus Interpretive Centre in the Baxter Conservation Area on Saturday, March 15, 1997. It was business in the morning, a long lunch for socializing and for the exhibits, and the technical session in the afternoon.

Alec and Kathleen Jones the 1997 ECSONG Certificate Achievement Award for their unique contribution to nut culture in the Eastern Ontario as founders of the Chapter itself back in 1978.

This year, there was still so much snow that the traditional visit to the Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove, also at the conservation area, was cancelled.

Ted and Isabelle Cormier brought the ECSONG Display from KCAT and set it up for the AGM. Kathleen Jones and Genice Collett prepared nut cuisine and coffee for the attendees and for visitors. Art Read managed the registration. Thanks to all of you.

Thanks to our hosts once again, the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, for allowing us the use of the Centre for the whole day.

The highlight of the day was an excellent presentation, and discussion, on nut pines by the Rhora family of Rhora's Nut Farm and Nursery in Wainfleet, Ontario. Everyone was quickly convinced that nut pines are good candidates for the Eastern Ontario region. And the Rhora's brought along some nut pines which were quickly snapped up by the group.

Thanks to one and all for a pleasant and informative day!

Ottawa Spring Home Show '97

On the last, long weekend of March '97, ECSONG exhibited at the Ottawa Spring Home Show at Lansdowne Park in Ottawa. Over the four-day long marathon, 14 ECSONGers rotated through the exhibit, speaking to hundreds of keen visitors about every and sundry aspect of nut culture. Kurt Wasner, Irene Broad, Michael Broad, George Truscott, Alec Mucha, Sandy Graham, Terry McEvoy, Ralph McKendry, Myrtle McKendry, Ted Cormier, Isabelle Cormier, Alec Jones, Len Collett and Genice Collett engaged visitors, answered questions and offered a number of new nut products to the eager buyers.

Ralph's new "Nuts-to-Gro!" starter kits featuring Black Walnut sold out. Alcon's "Bag O'Butternuts" and "Bag O'Black Walnuts" for both growing and tasting proved popular. Cobjon's "Gingkies" characters, imported from Japan by Dan and Masami Goodman, quickly sold out. Cobjon's "Sprouted Nuts Bucket" attracted many buyers looking for just one or two ornamentals, and found the lure of an already-sprouted nut irrestistable. The bucket offered Horsechestnut, Bur Oak, and Bear Oak. The Seed Source's Black Walnut, American Chestnut, Heartnut and Manitoba Hazel seedlings were snapped up. "The Nut Growers Manual for Eastern Ontario" also sold, along with several new memberships. The bottom line - the Show contributed nearly $400 to the ECSONG coffers!

By-the-by, a number of the articles in this issue were inspired by new contacts made at the Show. All in all, the OSHS is a good venue for ECSONG to get the word out on nut growing in Eastern Ontario.


A project has been underway for some time to bring ECSONG onto the Internet's World Wide Web (or web for short). Karen Bertrand, now of AIM Consulting Services, is helping with this task. The homepage for ECSONG will be revamped to include The Nuttery Volume 15. This will be happening in May, 1997.

For more information, contact The Nuttery Editor.

Dr Bramwell's Mutagenics Experiment

As reported in an earlier issue of The Nuttery, Dr Johnathan Bramwell is applying his biophysical expertise to exploit nut genetic mutations. He is focusing on Black Walnuts and Oaks. He is also interested in Black Cherry (Ed note - Bob Scally is ECSONG's expert on black cherry).

Johnathan is writing his experimental protocol as the first step in the project. By stressing the seed according to the protocol, Johnathan seeks to produce variations in plant characteristics. He is interested in finding, for example, dwarfing trees, easy cracker, variegated foliage (red or yellow would be popular), juglone-free walnuts, precocious/prolific oak shrubs with sweet acorns, and other fortuitous characters.

This work can go on for years, and its outcome is largely unpredictable. Though there is a practical upper limit to the size of the experiment, thousands of seeds could be handled over time. Planting areas for the survivors (typically less than half of the seed starting will survive) will be needed. Only areas that can be closely monitored are suitable for these experiments.

Johnathan believes his colleagues in the National Research Council and other facilities will find these experiments interesting, and may collaborate. If you are interested, Johnathan is an ECSONG member: you can find his phone number in the member list at the end of this issue of The Nuttery.

Nuts-to-Gro! Kit

Ralph McKendry and his colleagues managing the Oak Valley Plantation's Truscott Nursery collaborated to develop a nut grower's kit for single tree planting. The kit consists of a large paper softdrink cup and its lid, two or three already-stratified nuts (black walnuts are being used in the testing marketing), some potting soil and an instructional pamphlet. All thirty of the kits brought to the Ottawa Spring Home Show sold, and there was still unfilled demand.

For more information, contact Ralph.

"Bag O'Nuts" Sampler

Cobjon Enterprises Inc., in collaboration with Alcon, has developed nut sampler product called "Bag O'Nuts". The product is bag of 25 butternuts or of black walnuts, called respectively "Bag O'Butternuts" or "Bag O'Black Walnuts" that have been stored to for both germination and for eating. The sampler includes a pamphlet which explains how to crack the nuts for tasting, and how to stratify the nuts for germinating. The pamphlet suggests that the buyer taste first, and plant the rest. The samplers were offered at the ECSONG booth at the Ottawa Spring Home Show, and were well received.

For more information, contact either Hank Jones or Mark Jones.

Two more pickled nut recipes

At the Ottawa Spring Home Show, Bruce and Pat Wilson stopped to talk about pickled nuts. "Murff" Lockett's pickled butternuts had caught their eye. Well, the Wilsons used to pickle walnuts years ago when they lived in British Columbia. Our booth brought back the memories!

Were they nuts black walnuts? We do not know. Likely they were english or persian walnuts - the same walnuts that Crosse &Blackwell, and Goldsmiths, in the UK use. Goldsmiths Pickled Walnuts sell in Ottawa for $13 for a 250ml jar (one cup - have not counted how many nuts in one jar yet).

Well, the Wilson's recently wrote to The Nuttery, offering not just one, but two nut pickling recipes! Here are the recipes, but first a word of advice - use rubber or plastic gloves to avoid hand stain; and pick the nuts early, or the shell forming inside will mean hit bits in the pickle.

Gerry and Claire Giroux's Pickled Walnuts - July, 1959

 Pierce (immature) walnuts with needle or fork several times.
 Put the nuts in a strong brine - 1 cup of salt to 9 cups of water.
 Let stand for 9 days - stir daily -
 Spread nuts in the sun for 3 days, turn daily.
 BOTTLE - for 100 nuts -
 1 ounce of ginger root
 ½ oz each of allspice, cloves, nutmeg and peppercorns
 ¼ oz mustard seed
 USE - 1 cup of vinegar for each quart, plus 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
 COOK - 5 minutes for each quart - pour over the nuts.

(Pat Wilson - Mar'97)

Gerry and Claire are longtime friends of the Wilsons, going back to the days when both families were Navy folks.

The second recipe was found in "The New Kate Aitken Cook Book" 1953. Wm Collins Sons & Co. Ltd, publisher.

Pickled Black Walnuts or Butternuts

Gather green nuts in early summer when sufficiently developed to pass a pin all the way through them. Make a brine of ¾ cup salt to each quart of hot water. Let cool; pour over nuts; let stand 24 hours. Drain; cover with fresh brine; let stand 2 days; drain and rinse. Place in sun, turning over frequently until they are black.

Heat sufficient vinegar to boiling point to cover walnuts. Add ½ cup white sugar, 2 tablespoons each mustard seed, cloves, peppercorns, mace and broken cinnamon to each quart of vinegar. Pack the nuts in jars, pour over hot vinegar mixture. Seal. Walnuts should be sufficiently pickled to use in 4 to 5 days.

(Ed. note - Pickling requires nuts too young to have begun forming the shell, which would be unpalatable in a pickle. The test described is to take nuts as large as possible, while still able to pass a hatpin through - before the hard shell begins to form inside. May or June at the latest probably.)

Do you have a black walnut or butternut tree(s) whose crop you would like to see pickled? See the article "Murff's Nut Pickle Project" elsewhere in this issue. Thanx to Bruce and Pat for these recipes. For more information, contact Bruce and Pat at 731-8490.

Sam Jakes Horticulural Weekend

Sam Jakes Inn will present the sixth annual "Horticultural Weekend", focusing on the gardens of Merrickville, Ontario, Friday through Sunday, June 6 -7-8. 1997.

Anstace and Larry Esmond-White, who will host the weekend, are also the hosts of the Public Broadcasting System's (PBS in the USA) television series "From a Country Garden".

Having been voted the most beautiful small town in Ontario in the 1996 Communities in Bloom competition, 1997 has been declared the year of Merrickville in Bloom.

Amongst many other speakers, Hank Jones will present nut plants.

For more information, contact Sam Jakes Inn 1-800-567-4667, or 269-3711.

Scouts Canada - Ottawa Area - Butternut Planting

At the Ottawa Spring Home Show, the ECSONG booth was visited by Claire Johnstone of Scouts Canada. Claire had in mind the Odawa Area Camp planned for June 13 to 15, 1997 to be held in the area of the Voyageur Provincial Park, and celebrating the 90th anniversary of Scouting in Canada. She sought collaboration of ECSONG in a project to plan comemorative trees near the park headquarters. With the permission of the park management, Claire has arranged that the planting ceremony can take place on June 14, 1997, and that six butternuts could be planted.

Ted Cormier, The Seed Source has set aside six three-foot Canadian Butternut seedlings into pots. Potting is necessary because the planting date of mid-June means the trees will be in full leave and would not survive bare-root transplanting. ECSONG will purchase these trees from The Seed Source, and contribute them to the event.

The trees will be planted two at a time. The seven hundred or so attendees at the camp plant two trees at a time, in three separate events during the day. The Beavers (5 -7 yearolds) will plant their two, followed in turn by the Cubs (8-10 yearolds) and finally by the Scouts (11-14 yearolds). Claire has chosen this regimen so that the number of attendees at each planting ceremony will be reasonably small.

ECSONG representatives will instruct the boys and supervise the planting.

For more information, contact The Nuttery editor.

Beulah's Nutshellons

Beulah Bland, published poet and aspiring novelist, visited the ECSONG booth at the Ottawa Spring Home Show to talk about making characters from nutshell. Beulah, a resident of Gloucester, is keenly interested in creativity. She pointed out that black walnut shells, split along their suture, revealed a masklike face.

This image could be exploited Beulah says, to make pendants, broaches, and maybe other ardornments and possibly ornaments. She left with a handful of split shells (we used Alcon's Black Walnut Cutter - $25 plus S&H - to cut the nuts). As Beulah waits for the lightning to strike, we are sending her more nuts, not only just cut, but others that have been sawed into cross-sections through various angles. Each cut exposes its own intriguing version of the nut's internal architecture. We hope Beulah will see haunting or amusing characters therein - an will find ways to bringing these characters to life. If she succeeds, who knows where this nutty artform could lead!

If you find this project interesting, nuts are available either whole, or cut, for you work with. Contact The Nuttery editor. We are peaking over Beulah's shoulder on this - hope she doesn't mind!

Evelyn's Husk Dyes

At the Ottawa Spring Home Show, Evelyn Davies of Ashton stopped by to ask about getting Black Walnut husks for dyeing. Of course, Alcon hulling service for Black Walnuts and Butternuts (inter alia) generates large amounts of husk. The big question is "How should the hulling be done to assure the husks are suitable for dyers?"

We look forward to working with Evelyn soon to develop a procedure for Alcon the follow that will provide high quality husks. If Evelyn obtains satisfactory results, we see both black walnut and butternut dyeing kits and crafts becoming available as early as this year, when the 1997 crop comes in.

By the way, Kathleen Jones reports using locally-made bottled Black Walnut stain as a leather dye on her winter boots, overcoming the inevitable bleaching that occurs to leather here with winter salt exposure. On p. 152 of "The Complete Handbook of Leathercrafting" (Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, Florida, 1986), a table lists green hickory or walnut as producing a brownish black colour.

Black Walnut and Butternut can produce a range of colours including yellows, light-, medium- and dark-brown, and even black, depending of the details of the dyeing procedure.

For more information, contact The Nuttery Editor.

Beaked Hazel Bonanza

Not so long ago (in the fifties and early sixties), kids around Arvida (the Alcan town in the Lac St Jean area of Quebec) harvested beaked hazel for fun and food, and may still do.

This area of Canada is said to produce the native beaked hazel (Corylus cornuta) best. Gillian Gailey lived in Arvida then, and with her childhood friends, gathered the nuts into the fall as late as October. Picking could begin as early as August (when the blueberries were ripening) while the nuts were still green and soft shelled. Along the trail from town to the golf course, small thickets of beaked hazel, maybe ten feet square and five to six feet high, would provide half a dozen kids or more with enough nuts to each fill their one-pound tobacco tins. This would be after the husk had been shucked by hand. The nuts were sometimes roasted in a popcorn popper.

Gillian would like to grow the beaked hazel here. Her place near North Gower has none, but the plant certainly grows in the region, though not a well as in the Arvida area. If you have beaked hazel on your place and would like to help Gillian get started, please contact her at 489-4131.

Surviving on Acorns

Author Ted Myers clled the other day looking for a sample of red oak and bur oak acorns as possible illustrations for his new book on wilderness survival in North America. The book, tentatively titled "Wilderness Survival", discusses identifying acorns in the field and preparing them for eating. The book, to be published, by Hancock House, Surrey, BC, discusses using running water to leach the tannins.

This will be Ted's second book, "Children of the Thunderbird" -$9.95, same publisher - being his first, a history of west coast Amerindians. The new book is due out this summer. Your favourite book supplier can get you copies.

Ted explains that a tin with holes, or a stony corral, placed in a running stream, can leach the undesirable tannins when left a day of longer. He also discusses pine nuts. Ted says he will send ECSONG a copy when the book is released. Thanx, Ted - and we look forward to reading about the value of nuts in wilderness survival.

Nutwood Triumphs

Dave Baker says "Lets look inside". He and Hank Jones were standing in front of the Mostly Danish Furniture Inc. at 145 Besserer Street in Ottawa. We went inside, noticing not so much the Danish furniture, but unusually beautiful pieces made from large burls and mirror-planks of oak and black walnut. There were small tables and very large bowls, as well as many smaller decorative pieces. We were captivated!

Fortunately, the owner, Zvi Gross, was in the shop. We explained our interest in nut woods, and got the royal tour. It turned out that Zvi had made most of these pieces himself, and by hand. He explained that he wants to let the wood express itself, and he tries not to interfere with its natural appearance. His work is striking!

We asked about his sources of wood - all he had gotten from California, and none from Canada. He says, however, he is sure that there are many beautiful pieces of wood stashed away in Canadian garages and barns, maybe because the owner hopes some day to make something beautiful. the truth of the matter is that much of this wood probably ends up in the fireplace!

Zvi is on the look out for exceptional specimens, and will talk to anyone who might have some. Together, you can make an heirloom out of that piece of black walnut, butternut, oak, hickory you have stashed away!

Contact Zvi at 613-241-3873

Grafted Nutpine and Butternuts

Ted Cormier, Pat Ferguson, and Barb Boal at KCAT grafted about 200 each of Korean nut pine on white pine rootstock, and canker-resistant butternut. Barb Boysen and the Forest Gene Conservation Association continue to pursue the Butternut canker matter, and are very interested in these plants.

These plants now in pots need a home, this spring. Some could go to the nursery plots in the Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove and the Oak Valley Plantation, where they may need occassional watering if this summer turns dry.

There they could be offered to the stalwarts who come out to the field as a reward for their efforts, as stock to be transplanted to various destinations in the region. It is important to track these plants wherever they end up, to assure good data on their long term performance will be collected.

Want to get involved? - call Ted.

G Howard Ferguson Nursery update

Ted Cormier reports activity on the Nursery's fate. Apparently negotiations are underway between the Ontario government and the Township of Oxford-on-Rideau concerning the prospect of a sale of the 339 acres of cultivated fields, the buildings and some machinery. There are still some six millions trees in the nursery, which has a capacity on the order of ten million seedlings per year. It is not known how many of these may be nut species. The government's initial asking price is rumoured to be well over a million dollars.

As a seedling wholesaler, the Nursery could offer volume consumers hundreds of thousands of nut tree seedlings per year. If the idea of nut tree urbaculture catches on in Eastern Ontario, as it has been practiced for decades for pecans in the American Southwest, municipalities could become major buyers for the full spectrum of nut tree species on behalf of their citizenry. Given the numbers of municipalities and the wide variety of species adapted to Eastern Ontario, this region of Canada could easily gobble up all the nut seedlings a nursery like the G Howard Ferguson could produce. As a result, the Eastern Ontario region could become Canada's major nut producing region in the foreseeable future.

For more information, contact Ted or The Nuttery Editor.

A handle on Bur Oak

Mary Ann Riley, a teacher by professional, and a student of Agro-forestry at the Kemptville College of Agricultural Technology, has preare and excellent paper on the Bur Oak.

The 22-page paper, entitled "Species Profile of Bur Oak", with its five superior colour pictures showing leaf, fruit, bark, habit and a particular gall, has an 18 citation bibliography. Mary Ann details the species' identifying features; range and habitat; agroforestry attributes of tree and fruit; silviculture; and health. The paper could become an ECSONG model for documenting the other nut species. As Mark Schaefer and Ted Cormier contemplate a new edition of the The Nut Growers Manual for Eastern Ontario, Mary Ann's work could be inspirational.

It has been suggested the paper be published through ECSONG as a service to members. It would be relatively easy to post the work on ECSONG's experimental World Wide Web site on the Internet, where the colour illustrations could be reproduced at little cost. If the author is willing, The Nuttery would undertake the task of putting the paper on the web.

Murff's Nut Pickle Project

At the Ottawa Spring Home Show, many visitor's including the CBC noted with interest Elaine "Murff" Lockett's pickled butternuts. Just the one jar was at hand, a demonstrator, so no tasting! However, The Nuttery Editor (a lucky fellow) had already sampled the product earlier in the spring, and found it delicious. Only one batch, of a just a few jars, was made last spring, and ready to eat by Christmas last.

So, this spring, there may be an opportunity to make a large batch, so this new product, unique to the Ottawa Valley, could be test-marketed. All that is needed is a goodly number of immature whole butternuts (and black walnuts too, so they can be pickled as well), a few willing hands and of course some jars, spices and an nut artist to design an attractive label.

Are you the proud owner of butternut and/or black walnut trees? And would you be willing to contribute immature nuts, to be picked some time in May or possibly early June, but no later!? Murff's project seeks a bushel or two of each species. To be eligible, the nut must pass the hat-pin test. This test, in which a hat-pin must pass easily through the nut, determines that the hard shell has not yet begun to form - since the whole nut is pickled it is important that the shell have not yet formed. The trick is to grow the nuts to the largest size before the shell begins to form - a tricky judgement call.

If you have potential nut stock, and/or want to participate in the exciting project in any way, contact The Nuttery Editor immediately, as spring is now upon us!

Membership dues

You should take note of the new informaiton item on the mailing label on the envelope in which this issue of The Nuttery arrived. It indicates the latest year for which you have paid dues. If the year is last year or older, then you are at risk of losing your membership, and not receiving The Nuttery! As editor, I would be disappointed to lose you as a reader, but even more so as a potential contributor to the newsletter. It has been my experience that the members of ECSONG collectively and individually hold a wealth of nut culture information at their fingertips. If your membership fee is overdue (if you find a pink slip enclosed, your fees are overdue), please fire off a cheque to Art Read, and consider pening a letter to The Nuttery on what nut culture has meant to you over the years.

If you have any questions, please contact Art Read, Treasurer, in Ottawa 828-6594.

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