The Nuttery : Volume 18 Number 4 (1999)

In this Issue...

Re ANNOUNCEMENTS - Note carefully the time and place of the upcoming AGM. Also, review the nominations for ECSONG executive, and find yourself a place! Vera reports on the ECSONG Phone Tree.

Re PROJECTS - Catch up on the Filmore R. Park Nut Grove goings-on; Note that the Oak Valley Nut Grove will be getting a super shelter built soon; The Dolman Ridge Nut Grove is preparing for a public visit this spring; The National Nut Tree Collection is taking shape, with the Dominion Arboretum involved; The ECSONG Website is getting more and more attention from the world; And the Lavant Shagbarks will be visited soon by ECSONG planners.

Re the NEWS - The past Winter Meeting was ECSONG's biggest meeting ever, with a children's program being the catalyst; ECSONG Treasurer Art Read offers fiscal advice; Len Collett is reviewing our Constitution and By-Law re change; The Nut Tree Contest is shaping up; Nutters Bus Tour planning will begin soon; Blossom Park Public School is growing nuts!; When will the next Nutters Workshop be held?; Superior nut pine seed may arrive here soon; And superior Eastern Ontario Black Walnut nutwood now available.

Re NUT GROWER - The ECSONG Nut Culture Prize will not be awarded this year. Superior black walnut scions available for grafting and rooting; the Veratika Nuttree Garden goes the next round; The Ottawa Botanic Garden project moves forward; And what's a waggon-load of black walnuts worth?

Check out The Nuttery MARKETPLACE for nut stock, supplies and consulting sources in the region.

Find your nutting colleagues and other membership information in the MEMBERSHIP section.

And see you all at the AGM!

The Annual General Meeting 2000

The upcoming ECSONG Annual General Meeting blends business with pleasure. In the morning, we complete our business, and after a long relaxed lunch, we enjoy technical talk about nuts and nut tree growing. The meeting is open to all interested person, and potential members are most welcome!

Thanks to the generosity of the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, we host the meeting in the McManis Interpretive Centre at the Baxter Conservation Area just south of Kars, Ontario. Registration begins at 9:00AM, and the business proceedings at 9:30AM. The business session may a little longer this year, as we need to pay special attention to proposals for change to financials and our constitution. Be sure you get your nominations for office in to the Nominations Committee as soon as possible - a phone call to Ted Cormier will suffice.

The hour-and-a-half lunch time enables lots of conversation. Please bring your lunch and refreshments. Coffee will be available. If you have a culinary bent, consider making your favourite nut recipe, and bring along samples. The coffee and special fare usually asks a donation from tasters, as a small fund-raiser for ECSONG.

The afternoon technical program has not yet be finalized, as this is being written, but you can bet when its settled (probably by the time you are reading this), it will a good program! The day ends about 3:30PM. To follow up on the AGM arrangements, contact any member of the ECSONG Executive.

Upcoming ECSONG Elections

One of the important pieces of business at the ECSONG Annual General Meeting (AGM) is the election of Officers. According to our Constitution and by-law, our Officers serve a one year term, and are eligible for re-election. This means that we hold elections every year. The Executive Offices are Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and two Councillors. The Nominations Committee seeks candidates amongst paid-up members in good standing, accepts nominations from members, and presents a slate to the AGM for election. The Chair of this committee is the immediate past Chair of ECSONG. This year, that person is Ted Cormier. Ted's present nominees are: Chair - Hank Jones; Vice Chair- open; Secretary - Vera Hrebacka; Treasurer - Art Read; Councillor - Isabelle Cormier; Councillor - open.

Please discuss your choice of nominees with Ted as soon as possible. If you wish to run, tell Ted, or has another member nominate you. If you nominate someone, please be sure that they want to run, before passing their name on to Ted.

If you have any questions, please call Ted at 613-258-2570 right away!

The ECSONG Phone Tree

Our Phone Tree has served us well this past year, thanks to the efforts of Vera Hrebacka, Phone Tree Coordinator, and the Phone Tree Leaders. Largely because of the Tree, turnout at the Winter Meeting reached nearly seventy people - a number roughly equal to our paid-up membership!

ECSONG's membership is growing rapidly, and there is some turnover. People come and people go. There is always a need to recruit replacements to Phone Tree Leaders. Would you be able to help out, not forever, but say for a year? We need to be sure that we can reach all members in an emergency, so we need to test the tree from time to itme. Please call Vera to volunteer or just to get the lowdown.

The National Nut Tree Collection

Dr. Roman Popadiouk and his Dominion Arboretum Liaison Team has produced a list of about a hundred nut trees and shrubs likely suited to Canada. This list is now open for additions. Copies will be available at the ECSONG AGM, and are also being sent to knowledgeable individuals and organizations across the country.

As the Collection develops, here and possibly backed-up at other sites around Canada. Canadians (and visitors to Canada) will be able to see first hand specimens of these plants, and learn how they might grow the plants back home.

Check with Roman if you want to know more, or you have suggestions for the nut plant list, or maybe even specimens to offer the project.

Dolman Ridge Nut Grove News

Over the past year, there has been a surge in activity and a widening interest in the ECSONG nut grove at Dolman Ridge, near Mer Bleue, just east of Ottawa.

Under the liaison committee's Chair, Chris Cummins, the first thinning of the Black Walnut Plantation on Ridge Road yielded significant pieces of wood with the typical dark heartwood of black walnut. These John Sankey took to his shop and turned four beautiful bowls. These bowls will be used as unique awards to honour the achievements and contributions of individuals and groups to the furthering of nut growing in the region. This may become a regular practice as the region sees the thinnings and culls from its maturing public demonstration nut groves.

One of the oak plantations has been officially named the 'Mogens Leif Anderson Red Oak Plantation' in honour of Moe Anderson, who was instrumental in planting the area while a Forester with the then Central Research Forest. At the same time, the Dolman team of Chris, John, George Truscott, and Moe Anderson began the restoration of the plantation. With the assistance of Roman Popadiouk and Hank Jones, a new public trail was cut joining Anderson Road, through the oaks to a back trail.

Recognizing the need for more public information, John proposed the wording for several signs to guide visitors. to the nut trees. The Canadian Chestnut Council has endorsed the wording for a sign to be placed near the sweet American chestnut plantation near the parking lot on Anderson Road. This plantation holds the northern-most chestnuts in the world that are regular seed producers! Another sign will be placed by the Moe's Oaks, explaining the desirability of these trees. Still other signs, and possibly brochures are in the offing.

As the year, century and millenium are coming to a close, ECSONG sent a letter to the NCC, owner of the property, expressing its pleasure and dedication in this joint project. The NCC Chair's reply, from Marcel Beaudry, reciprocated, and went further to encourage ECSONG to jointly further the research and public aspect of the site.

The Ottawa/Carleton Stewardship Council has decided to participate, and is promoting a public awareness day at the site, slated for this spring. Also, Blossom Park Public School nearby has engaged its Grade Four classes in a Black Walnut germination activity, with the seedlings to be planted in special grow boxes at the nut grove, as part of the public awareness day.

Chris Cummins' rapidly developing interest in nut growing affairs in his home district of Dunrobin/Kanata decided to pass the torch for Dolman to John Sankey. Under Chris's chairship the then-languishing Dolman Ridge Nut Grove roared back to life. And John is just the person to make it an important part of Canada's national capital region, that will come attract its visitors and citizens in droves!

Join John and the Dolman Team this spring - and get real experience with major nut plantations.

Catch up on the FRP

Sandy Graham's team is pressing on this year with planned improvements to the Filmore R. Park Nut Grove, specially with the new plantings of last year. New maps and other information are in the offing. The Boy Scouts, and possibly families, will be called on to participate in field day activities for all ages. Near to Kemptville College, the site will continue to be an interesting prospect for cooperative programs with the students of agroforestry, horticulture, arboriculture and the like. The RVCA, who own the nut grove, are enthusiastic about continuing our close collaboration in the years to come. To join in, as an individual, or a family, or as a group, simply call Sandy - there is a place for everyone!

The Lavant Shagbarks

In Lanark, along the French Line Road, a 15-acres grove of Shagbarks, Beech and Butternut has been singled out from the OMNR logging program, for preservation. ECSONG has been instrumental identifying this site as important to preserve. Soon, an ECSONG Team, including Len Collett, Ted Cormier, Murray Spearman, Jim Ronson and others will be taking the measure of the area, and proposing how best to use it to promote nut growing. Check in with Len if you would like to be involved.

Oak Valley Builds for the Future

The big news this spring at the Oak Valley Nut Grove, according to Peter Carr (Chair of the Liaison Committee) is the on-site Shelter being built this month by Gordon MacDonald and his high school students. The South Nation Conservation, owner of the site, is already contemplating public gatherings that could use the shelter, say for picnics associated with visits to the nut grove, and the collocated Pioneer Homesteads Memorial Park.

Kim McInnis, and other team members, are planning a special garden to be developed on the site, within the confines of the stone remnants of the ruins of the original homestead from the early nineteenth century.

Join Peter and the team to further this beautiful nut grove for posterity.

ECSONG Website

Visit http://www.ecsong.ca to see the story of ECSONG unfolding! Thanks to hard work and high skill of our webmaster John Sankey we have a website chock-a-block full of value information. Phone calls and emails are growing as a result.

The site is hosted by Cobjon Enterprises Inc. as a contribution to ECSONG, effectively giving ECSONG a free but powerful internet server. It has been suggested that in the future, as more and more members access the web regularly, it may become our primary communications tool. Then ECSONG would probably launch out on its own, as www.ecsong.ca, or the like. Costs and maintenance would become considerations then.

Take a good look at the website. Your comments on content, layout, organization most welcome. If you have stories, data, information, pictures relevant to ECSONG, let John know.

Update on the Ottawa Botanical Garden project

For the last year, the Ottawa Botanical Garden Society has been preparing a proposal on how the arboretum at the Central Experimental Farm could be up-graded and become financial independent of the government. The project was initiated by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's desire to see the non-research areas of the Farm managed and financed by outside bodies. The overview document - The Vision - is now complete and is on its way to be published in April, 2000. It will also be available almost immediately on the Society's website at www.ottawagarden.ca.

The preparation of The Vision has involved the volunteer efforts of a large number of professionals as well as input from members of the public who attended well over 100 presentations. The primary effort has been to be inclusive in order that the proposal reflects the views of the greatest number of people within the region as well as considering the advice of world leaders on botanic gardens.

The Nuttery readers will be interested to learn that there is a nut tree grove proposed which will be an urban site for educating the public about the trees and their role in the region as well as a location to advertise day trips out to ECSONG's other demonstration groves in Eastern Ontario.

For more information, see our website or telephone 291-2820 or our new office number at 736-7054 or e-mail us at avocet.intl@sympatico.ca.

Ian E. Efford, President

Veratika Nuttree Garden

Progress on seeing this garden started in Ottawa's centretown proceeds apace. The time is fast approaching when its infrastructure will be set up. A Steering Committee of prominent citizens and technical expertise is in the offing. This body will be the catalyst for arrangements, including site selection, garden design, team development and fund raising. All these matters should be underway by the end of this spring. To follow up on this work, contact Vera Hrebacka of Veratika Canada, the project's originator.

Nut Growing Economics - 1877 vs. 2000.

As the current custodian of the ECSONG technical library, begun by Alec Jones almost two decades ago, I've been reading through some neat documents. Among these is a description of the nut growing endeavours of Chief Johnson of the Mohawk. The agriculturally-based Six Nations people had spread the Black Walnut from it's southern land of origin throughout Southern Ontario, and Chief Johnson had an orchard of some dozen acres of mature Black Walnuts along the Credit River near Caledon.

In 1877, Chief Johnson received $2 for each 'waggon-box full' of unhusked black walnuts that left his farm. The emissaries of the Fruit Growers' Association of Ontario considered that to be a low price for the time.

What is that equivalent to today?

A typical single-horse wagon of the period was 5' wide and 10' long with 2' walls - the driver's bench occupied the front 2'. Unhusked black walnuts average 2" diameter, about 300 to the cubic foot with optimal packing. They could not be heaped much above the walls or they would roll off during transit over the roads of the time (and we won't mention the horse acting up!). So, a waggon-box full may be estimated as 80 cu.ft.: 24,000 nuts. Hank says black walnut meats average 400 to the kilogram, so the waggon-box full would yield about 60 kg of nut meats when processed. At the current Loblaw's price of $11.00/kg for (Chinese) walnut pieces, they could be sold for about $660.

The current average farm gate receipt for food is 25% of the retail price. So, a farmer today could expect to receive about $165 for that waggon-box full of produce as it rolled out the gate.

As near as I can tell, the average Canadian income in 1877 equivalent to our modern family-unit-income was about $700; today (according to StatsCan) it is $54,000. Using this as the measure of inflation, Chief Johnson's $2 is equivalent to about $150 today.

So, given the uncertainties in this calculation, and that the Chief's customers collected their own produce, his price was similar to what a farmer would receive today. Ask any farmer - it's low!

John Sankey

ECSONG Prize

This is only the second year that ECSONG has offered its $300 Prize for Nut Culture Essays to local Colleges in the region. Consideration is being given to extending coverage to high schools as well. Could there be interest at the university level. This year only one paper has been submitted and the March 1st deadline has passed. The review committee has decided that it cannot award the prize under these circumstances, and will ask the submitter if the paper can be carried over to next year. The committee also recommends that much more publicity be given to the prize, and much earlier, for the year 2001. These seem wise measures, and should be acted on.

Further, discussions concerning the prize have also included suggestions that a Prize Foundation should be set up, the profits from which would constitute the financial award, set at about $300. The value of the prize might thus increase with time, whilst not being a financial commitment on the ECSONG treasury. Also, the prize may take on a name, in honour of an exemplary member or benefactor.

We look forward to a strong campaign in the coming years to seeing our Prize significantly influence the academic research community in favour of much more attention to nut trees and nut growing hereabout.

Black Walnut Scions

At the end of February last, three same-age, superior black walnut trees were harvested from in front of a private house in the town of Morrisburg, at the request of the owner The work was done under the supervision of Dr. Roman Popadiouk of Cobjon's Nutculture Services division. Our measurement show that these open-grown trees achieved about 27 meters high (90 feet), at an age of about 100 years. Their DBH was about one meter (about 40 inches. The trunks were straight for about 18 meters (about 60 feet). The trees are expected to have high commercial value.

It would be a real shame for superior nut trees such as these to come down leaving no progeny. In anticipation of the harvest, we collected some seed last fall, and we hope the seedlings will inherit the beauty and valuable features of their parents. However, only vegetative means of reproduction provides us with a genetically identical progeny. That is why genetically identical reproduction of superior nut trees is considered an important scientific and commercial task. When you plant a superior nut tree in your yard you make a good investment. For nut trees, simple calculations show that the value of the tree increases by about $60 or more per year - and that does not include the value of the nut crops!

What can we do to reproduce superior trees? There are two options. New shoots (or twigs) of a superior tree can be grafted as scions onto another tree or rootstock. Or the cuttings can be rooted (if this proves possible). Having this in mind, we collected more than 100 many-budded scions ranging in size from 30 to 120 cm long from the upper crowns of these trees. The wood will be kept dormant under snow.

We are offering some of these scions to grafters. If you are interested, contact Nutculture Services at hank@cobjon.com. We will also attempt to root cuttings, though this has only been once successfully many years ago, a feat not duplicated since. If we succeed, we will publish the results. For more information, contact Sergei Ponomarenko, Forest Ecologist, Cobjon Nutculture Services at 565-5725.

Texas Bur Oaks

Jane Lynas, in Mansfield, Texas, lives at the extreme southern end of the natural range of the Bur Oak. Last fall she collected acorns and sent them here. Some were maggot eaten, others whole. Much to our surprise, the infected acorns begin germinating within a few weeks, and we have about ten healthy seedlings now growing. The whole acorns are still in cool storage, and will be checked soon for germination. Some of the seed also has been donated to Canada's Dominion Arboretum for experimentation. Curiosity is leading us to try to grow these oaks here because the acorns are about the size of golf balls! To follow up on this work, check with Nutculture Services, at 613-828-5772 or email hank@cobjon.com.

Blossom Park Public School

On Friday, March 10, 2000, ECSONG Chair Hank Jones will participate in a special Grade Four class dedicated to nut trees. ECSONG has purchased 100 black walnut seed from The Seed Source (see this issue Marketplace section for company information) to be stratified, germinated and finally planted out by the kids, working teams of two. Surprisingly, some the seeds have already germinated, so the activities will include both bagging unsprouted seed to continue stratification, and planting the sprouts in cut-down 2L plastic pop bottles. The seedlings are destined for the nearby Dolman Ridge Nut Grove, to be grown in special Grow Boxes until old enough to be transplanted out in their final sites. To follow up contact Hank or John Sankey.

Morrisburg Black Walnut

As part of a new program to raise the profile of nut trees in the Eastern Ontario region, as well as across Canada in the longer run, Nutculture Services of Cobjon Enterprises, has managed the harvest of three, one-hundred-year-old plus black walnut trees from downtown Morrisburg. Based on ring counts, local anecdotes and public records, the history of these tree will be examined to understand the role they played on the development of Morrisburg during the twentieth century, and in the lives of its citizens. Also, some of the wood will be donated for good purposes, to the local younger students of woodworking, to see the production or manufacture of attractive artifacts that will carry the trees' message to future generations.

The stumps will be lifted to join the logs at the mills, where everyone interested is welcome to look the material. Of special interest will be unusual applications wherein the properties of Eastern Ontario black walnut can excel. Already, consideration is being given to the manufacture of special musical instruments such as harpsichords and guitars. Because careful attention has been paid to the harvesting, other applications such as gun stocks, supergrain turnings, carvings, and cabinetry can be well met. If you would like to follow up on this opportunity, please contact Hank Jones of Cobjon.

ECSONG Constitution and By-Law

When ECSONG was first formed in the late 1970's, its name was "The Ottawa Chapter of the Society of Ontario Nut Growers". In the early 1980's, its name was changed to today's ECSONG. Our constitution has never been republished under the new name. Also, the document has not been reviewed since the name change. So, this past year, Past-Chair Len Collett has been studying the constitution and its by-law, and advising the Executive on its currency. Changes may be in the offing. Consideration is being given to a clearer definition of the geographic area we include in our Eastern Ontario region responsibility. Also, other areas of concern include terms of office, executive positions, the make-up of the board, and so on.

If deliberations have sufficiently matured, Len may well provide the Executive with a proposal that the ECSONG Chair could table for vote the upcoming AGM. To follow up on this, please contact Len. Comments and advice most welcome.

Nut Tree Contest

Attendees at ECSONG's winter meeting were introduced to Dr. Sergei Ponomarenko, ECSONG member and Nutculture Services associate. Sergei described an ambitious project Nutculture Services was preparing to undertake, involving a contest to seek out superior nut tree in the region and acknowledge their finders and owners. The contest is scheduled to begin in late April this year, and run for five years. Preparations for the contest are on track. For more information, please contact Sergei or Hank Jones.

ECSONG Financial Business

With the ECSONG AGM coming, proposals to change financials for the coming year need to be prepared, so that members can consider same and vote at the meeting.

For the past year, the ECSONG Executive has been considering the dues amount, which has not changed in many years. Our membership fee of $15 per year, for individuals, or families, and businesses. It supports members services such as publishing The Nuttery, ECSONG Prize, our exhibit, brochures, membership cards, the website, and the growing range of activities at our three public nut groves. The fee just barely covers costs now, and soon will be inadequate. The Executive proposes to raise the annual membership fee to $20 per year, for individual, family or single business. The ECSONG Treasurer, Art Read, will table the formal proposal at the AGM, for vote.

Also, from time to time, members and others donate funds to ECSONG. At present, we do not have any mechanism in place with which we can acknowledge such generous contributions. The Executive has been considering special status for contributors. Accordingly, it will be proposed at the AGM that a category called 'Patron' be established, at an annual fee of $100, to be implemented immediately on AGM approval. The name of the Patron will be prominently published. Treasurer Art read will make the formal proposal for vote at the AGM.

Questions and comments to Art will be welcome.

The Kids and the Winter Y2K Meeting

For the first time, ECSONG included a kid's program at one of its regular meetings. In this case, it was the Winter Meeting 2000, and the program aimed at kids from pre-schoolers to about age twelve. The program was run by Khristina Popadiouk (who at the age of twelve was the oldest there) with the help of her friend Luba, her mother Galina Ponomarenko, and Gladys Roberts. The program included nutty face-painting, done by Khristina, and also nutty artwork under the tutelage of Galina, a professional artist. Almost all the kids had their faces painted - and it was great fun! The participants included Khristina, Luba, Milena, Anastasia, Paulina, Daniel, Maddie, Ryan, Holly, Rebecca, Zack and Gina (and Hannah, ECSONG's doggie mascot). At the end of the program, the kids selected the single drawing they liked best from the many, many drawings they did. The chosen picture, by Ryan, showed a nut tree bearing a good crop of nuts! Congratulations to Ryan!

Almost seventy people attended the meeting. Besides the conversation, nut stock trading, and nut goodies, four expert presentation were offered the group. John Sankey, ECSONG's Webmaster, lead by speaking about the present and future impact the world wide web could have on ECSONG. Next, an expert panel on nut tree nurseries, composed of Ted Cormier (The Seed Sources), Alex Mucha (AM Tree Farm), Henk Schapelhouman (Next Generation Tree Farm), and Kurt Wasner (Buckthorn Meadows Tree Farms), discussed nut growing with the audience. Mary Ann Riley presented her Bur Oak paper that won the ECSONG Nut Culture Prize in 1999. In the last of the four presentations, Dr. Sergei Ponomarenko outlined the five-year Canada Regional Nut Tree Contest that he and Nutculture Services will initiate this spring.

Our thanks to the Ottawa Citizen for allowing us to use their excellent conference room on Baxter Road. And thanks to all the members who contributed time and effort to make this meeting ECSONG's most successful to date!

Nut Pines for the Region

It is now clear that nut pines, such as the Korean Nut Pine, can thrive in this region. With this in mind, Nutculture Services of Cobjon Enterprises Inc., is preparing to acquire special seed from the most cold-extreme of these plants' natural ranges. In consultation with experts in Eurasia, genetically superior seed will be acquired, probably this spring 2000. Arrangements will be made to germinate the seed locally and begin developing an inventory of plants best suited to our colder regions. This work follows on from the recent efforts of Roman Popadiouk and Alex Mucha working in Ottawa and western Quebec. Besides the Korean species, Siberian Nut Pine and Japanese Stone Pine are candidates. On the North American scene, the Limber Pine (Pinus flexilis) is also a candidate.

To follow this up, contact Hank Jones.

Nutter's Bus Tour 2000

As soon as ECSONG has a Vice-Chair for the 2000/2001 year, plans for conducting a regional bus tour this fall to gather seed and see trees will begin in earnest. This will be the next tour in our biennial series. However, this year, much wider publicity will be undertaken to attract guests, so that we fill the bus. The fee will be set accordingly, with an ECSONG member's discount. Guests may be offered a membership/tour package deal. A special rate for agroforestry students who are willing to participate in the educational part of the tour is being considered. For more information, after the AGM, contact ECSONG Vice-Chair.

A Nutters Workshop

It has been several years since the first public Nutters Workshop was held in this region. The time for the second one is thought to be past due. This workshop would cover both introductory session and expert session, as we now have local expertise and experience, as well a rapidly growing interest on many people's part to get stated nut growing.

Given the major increase in ECSONG's workload, with its three and soon to be four public nut tree demonstration sites, and the wide spread interest, it is probably time to seek professional support to conduct the workshop.

To follow up on this project, contact Hank Jones.

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