In this Issue...
An ECSONG Action Plan for AGM 2004
Where do we want to take ECSONG in the near future? What activities should be for members only, and which do we invite the public to attend freely?
I have pondered this question for some time, as its answer probably determines how many members we might attract. If all that we do is freely available, then no one need be a member to benefit from ECSONG's collective wisdom. Of course, then there would be no members!
We want our message to reach the public of course - that is one of our mandates. Our nut groves are our best interface to the public. We have field days often and I have been inclined to encourage the public to join in free. Is this wise? Probably not. If our field days were for members only, then to learn nutculture hands-on in our nut groves would require membership. Dues could be paid at the event of course.
To use the groves to reach the public for free would then necessitate other events therein. These events we do not have at present. I can imagine such events - for example educational tours from time to time, or better yet on a frequent and regular schedule. Fundraising and recruiting new ECSONG members would both be also important components in these events. Dues would be payable at the event for anyone deciding they wanted to join. The nut grove's owners would be expected to join ECSONG's Friends of the Nut Grove in hosting the events, playing a big or an even bigger part in running the event.
Another matter of concern for membership value is the Internet. The web is becoming a very effective way to reach both members and the public with two-way, multimedia information. In the past ECSONG has published nutculture information in the form of a hardcopy Cookbook and a Manual. Now both are available free on the website - no membership required, or fee to pay. In contrast to us, I notice SONG's Manual comes with membership in hardcopy. It is also available at a profitable price to non-members. It is not on their website. We should do the same with our books - but by publishing new editions, though then we would have to bear some costs that would ultimately have to be offset by sales. We have done this in the past, so we are familiar with the pros and cons. Then there is another benefit to membership
But hardcopy paid publishing is not the only way. Nowadays, we could sell such documents online - whereby the client pays online first, then immediately can download a PDF version. This can be done from certain commercial sites such as the intellectual property site operated by Knexa. They take a small cut of the price off the top and then send us our cut. Thus, in this mode we have no upfront or overhead or labour costs - an excellent deal!
Next matter - our Winter Meeting has been public for as long as I can remember. Its purpose is to share information while simultaneously demonstrating the kinds of information and skills ECSONG possesses. To have value to us, it should have a very strong and obvious recruiting component. Visitors should have every encouragement to join ECSONG right there and then! Also, I think we should change its name to the Winter Nutculture Conference
Turning to our other regular indoor meeting - the Annual General Meeting with its afternoon nutculture program. It should be for members only - however, pay your dues at the door and you are immediately welcome. This also makes membership worth having.
Promotions, advertisements and publicity for these events can lay out these conditions clearly. And tell the reader how to pay dues - call the Treasurer.
Or maybe connect to our website. Returning to the matter of the use of the Internet, I notice that the NNGA collects dues online. We should do the same. At the same time, the new member would fill in the online application which could also include a brief needs and interests questionnaire. This information can go to the membership online by way an introduction to the new member. No new member is ever a stranger.
One another tack, it has been suggested a number of times that ECSONG could act as an elementary co-operative for nutbusiness-oriented members. Your membership automatically entitles you to participate in the co-op. Just how this might function I am not completely sure. However, for one, if our Nuttery Marketplace enabled members to promote and advertise their commercial interests, I think we would be well on our way to having a 'co-op' in the region. Again, membership would be a prerequisite to place such information in the Marketplace. We could have a member volunteer to manage the Marketplace. Their job would be to find businesses in the region likely to be of interest to members, and sell them membership in return for their being allowed to put their message in the Marketplace.
I am sure there are still other ways to make ECSONG membership still worth having in this 'information age' and also dues very, very easy to pay.
In my view our challenge is to have a large and proactive synergistic membership spinning off its nutculture message to every corner of the region. We all will benefit.
How best to make all this happen? I recommend we begin examining ways and means of implementing these and like ideas as quickly as possible. We need a plan. I am willing to moderate the discussion by phone and email, to pull the plan together, starting this very moment!
One last thought, an observation by our Secretary Jim Ronson: judging by the audience at WG25, ECSONG can attract both young and old together, a highly desired but apparently rare skill these days.
I believe we need to go farther still - we need to accommodate children as well. We need to continue to be an ever stronger family-friendly and nutbusiness-friendly organization!
Lets have a 'plan for change' to vote on at the AGM. The AGM is only days away!
Rendez-vous horticole 2004
This year the fair is 28-30 May, at the Montreal Botanical Gardens. In 2003, the fair had 18,000 attendees. I believe that ECSONG should display there so as to let Montreal people better know of its activities.
The fair caters solely to groups which promote rare plants, old or new. No large companies appear there. This is an opportunity for small groups to get to know each other.
Last year I rented a 10'x10' area with table and 3 chairs, and brought teaching materials and pots of up to one gallon. Large photos, examples of nuts and nut crackers, and pamphlets were sufficient for success. La Pepinière Lafeuillée was two people, three would be best. My cost was $200 (it is less for a first-time exhibitor, maybe $50), which is easily recovered after the first of the three days with sales. Many of the attendees are anglophone, but of course most are francophone. All wish basic information on the growing in Quebec of uncommon trees.
One must subscribe prior to 16 April. For details see www.ville.montreal.qc.ca/jardin
25th Anniversary Celebrations
I hope you enjoyed ECSONG's 25th Anniversary Nuttery and Winter Gathering as much as I did!
I am grateful to the ECSONG Executive and to the Nuttery Editor for passing me the reins temporarily, just to organize these two activities in this special year. It has meant a lot to me, nostalgically, as I continue to believe strongly in ECSONG and its nutculture goals!
I got my start in nutculture because of ECSONG. My involvement began with the meetings that just preceded the formation of the Ottawa Area Chapter of the Society of Ontario Nut Growers in 1978. I have been an unflagging member since the beginning. I launched Cobjon Nutculture Service at the same time (it was called Cobjon Enterprises Inc. in the beginning). So, this 25th anniversary has very special significance for me!
I envisioned the special Nuttery 22(3) would be a snapshot of where ECSONG stood at its 25th birthday. Who better to be in this snapshot than ECSONG's own members and supporters, each telling their own nutculture achievements. A 'prose' group portrait if you like. I aimed to get about 12000 words from as many past and present members as I could reach. The idea got lots of support. In fact, by the time the publishing deadline rolled around, there were 28000 words from more than fifty contributors! With the expert help of Vera Hrebacka and Meghan Thomas we put together this special issue of 36 pages of wonderful stories and accounts which I know will be read many times by many people in the years to come.
As is always the case with deadlines, timing defeated some potentials contributors' desires to tell their stories. So, it has been suggested that a book be published that would take the stories from the special Nuttery, add all those other stories, and publish a anniversary book entitled "The ECSONG 25th Anniversary Time capsule". Here is a thought for contributors - get your fellow members to sign your copy of the book, and it will become an heirloom for your 'nutty' descendants! Furthermore, in the years to come, this book will enable future members to learn the roots of nutculture in the Eastern Ontario region and measure its growth.
The 25th Anniversary Winter Conference was also a crowning success. An estimated 60 people crowded into the Ottawa Citizen Conference Centre in Ottawa to hear expert nutculture presentations, applaud well-deserved awards, win door prizes, view exhibit displays, pick up literature, welcome kids, partake of the anniversary cake, and sample leading-edge nut cuisine prepared by talented members. Many members volunteered to help organize this event, which is always ECSONG's biggest get-together of the year. My supreme thanks and many ECSONG kudos to the 32-member organizing team lead by John Adams, Vera Hrebacka, Kim McInnis and Al Jones! This event needs to be reported in detail (names, names, names) in the Anniversary, too.
See you all at the AGM in March, eh!
Dolman Ridge: Ready for another Winter
The 27th of September threatened rain, but it held off long enough to put winter protection around our growing nut grove on the Dolman Ridge. Janice Arthur, Bernard Contré, Paige Cousineau, Hank Jones and George Truscott joined me in wrapping spiral protectors around the white oaks, and tar paper around the seedling swamp whites. The groves have been almost vole-free for three winters now, so either this winter or next should see the usual periodic explosion in their numbers.
Janice, Paige & I took a side trip to check on the beaked hazel bushes, only to find them suffering greatly from dieback. Hank's visit to the butternut grove produced better news - three of the trees appear to be healing at least some of their cankers. This prompted George to note that, several times, he had seen butternuts in the woods with bad canker while nearby trees growing completely in the open did not. Worth remembering when we plant butternuts.
The day ended with Bernard demonstrating his new double-lever nut cracker, which gives the same control over black walnuts as I get with a machinists' vise but is much faster and lighter.
Nut trees and oaks at the Morgan Arboretum
In Quebec, the Morgan Arboretum is one of the most educational and fascinating places to observe diverse tree plantations. More than 150 kinds can be seen there, along with 30 species of mammals, 30 reptiles and amphibians and 200 birds. This park of 245 ha. is also a rich maple grove where large shagbark and bitternut hickories grow naturally. Located at the southwest corner of Montreal island, the climate is relatively warm, and suitable for the survival of many introduced species which often fail in other regions close by.
History: The Arboretum was formally founded in 1945 by McGill University when it purchased lands belong to the Morgan family. The arboretum was named after the family for having conserved it for 100 years. The site plan was done by Dr. W.H. Brittain, who later became the first curator in 1955. This period coincided with many exchanges, sales and donations that John Ure Gellatly did with many institutions and individuals. Chestnuts, Japanese walnut, and hybrid hazels in particular are due to his work. Many plantations here were done for experimental research.
Here is a list of the most interesting species of nut trees and oaks that can be found:
50 Korean nut pines (1957) planted close together just before the office. They produce cones.
Beside the office, 14 mature hybrid hazels, probably Corylus cornuta x C. avellana (Gellatly). Because they were grown from seed, they vary widely in nut size and productivity.
Near the chalet, a Japanese walnut and 2 buartnuts, a black walnut, Carya ovalis var. odoratum, C. lacinosa, and Quercus: pinus, alba and bicolor.
Going down the hill, many introduced trees are planted, including Corylus tortuosa, Corylus hybrida, C. colurna, Quercus robur x macrocarpa!, ginkgos, 4 Juglans nigra, J. ailantifolia, J. manshurica, Carya illinoensis, C. tomentosa!, Castanea dentata, Quercus jackiana, Q. muehlenbergii, Q. velutina, Q. palustris and several other large oaks. Around, there are many 25 m high shagbark hickories in the woods.
Following the path which leads to the maple grove; 2 Juglans cinerea and 2 J. nigra. A little further, there is the most extensive black walnut plantation in Quebec, over 300 planted in 1950. They are 20-25 m tall, and spaced 3-4 m apart. One produces a long nut that looks like the well-known American variety Emma K.
Nearby, there are some large Japanese walnuts; one bears the name 'Thacker'. The largest is 1 m diameter at the base. Two Gellatly selections, Filazel 502-s and 501-s, are here, one Corylus seiboldiana var manshurica is close by. Many trees here have lost their labels; others are misidentified.
Going the other way, there are 12 hybrid hazels and 5 large American chestnuts. Also nearby, Carya illinoensis and several white oak.
All the trees mentioned here are mature. They were planted during a decade and a half period; few young plantings were done after.
Within the past five years, the American chestnuts have been declining rapidly in health. The chestnut blight is obviously responsible, but also a lack of even minimal care. In 2002, the largest, the largest in Quebec, produced its last nuts, then collapsed. Only 2 trees thrive now; none produce nuts. However, their offspring survive, still blight free, in Ottawa on the Dolman Ridge.
In spite of the lack of minimal care, the Morgan Arboretum remains an important place to visit for every tree lover. It is open every day from 9 am to 4 pm; entrance $5. It's free after 4 pm. See its web site: www.morganarboretum.org.
25th Anniversary Recipes
Here are some of the recipes used for the nut goodies presented at the 25th anniversary Winter Meeting.
The word pesto comes from the Italian pestare, to pound. Anything that tastes good when pounded together with a mortar and pestle is a pesto, but standard Italian ingredients are fresh herbs, nuts, cheese and olive oil. Pine nuts are most commonly used in the north of Italy, hazelnuts in the south. I use my grandmother's hand-cranked meat grinder instead of mortar and pestle; food processors or blenders also work, as long as the speed is kept low so that the herbs stay green.
2 oz fresh basil 1 oz Italian parsley 3 cloves garlic 4 oz Parmesan cheese 4 oz hazelnuts 1 oz red wine 8 oz olive oil
Other Ottawa nut pestos are at http://sankey.ws/pesto.html. My recipe for Black Walnut Bread is at http://sankey.ws/bread.html
Pumpkin Nut Bread
1½ cups flour ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg ½ teaspoon cinnamon 1½ cups granulated sugar ½ teaspoon salt 2 eggs, beaten ½ cup oil ½ cup mashed, cooked pumpkin 1 cup water or wine ¾ cup chopped nuts
Sift flour and soda, stir in other dry ingredients. Add eggs, oil, pumpkin and water. Stir batter well. Fold in nuts - I used hazelnuts for one bread, walnuts for the other. Bake in a greased, 9"x4" loaf tin on the centre rack at 350 for 1 hour. Test with a toothpick. If too moist, bake for another 15 minutes.
Kathleen Jones made delicious date squares with black walnut sprinkles in the coating.
Black Walnut Blondies
1½ cups flour 1 cup brown sugar 1 cup white sugar 1 cup vegetable oil 4 eggs, beaten 1 cup black walnut pieces
Preheat oven to 375 F. Blend flour and sugars in a medium bowl, add eggs and oil to flour mixture and stir for one minute. Add walnuts and mix well. Pour into a greased 9x10" pan. Bake 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Top with your own butter cream icing.
Asian Longhorned Beetle
This beetle was discovered near Toronto in September, and seems to already be established there. We have to assume that it will arrive in eastern Ontario shortly.
The beetle can attack and infest virtually any species of deciduous tree. It has no known predators here, although presumably many birds will eat the adults and woodpeckers may find the eggs. Currently, the action planned is destruction of any infected tree along with all others in its vicinity. It may well be better to live with it instead of resorting to panic.
Symptoms of infestation:
Description of the beetle:
On the Web:
Ottawa Forests & Greenspace Advisory Committee www.ottawaforests.ca/news/
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency www.inspection.gc.ca
Minutes of the Annual Meeting March 15, 2003
Jim Ronson, Secretary
The Baxter Conservation Area. 24 present
Meeting opened at 10:00AM with quorum.
Minutes of the 2002 AGM read by Vera Hrebacka. Moved, seconded, carried to accept minutes of previous annual meeting.
Recommendation that minutes be placed in the newsletter.-carried
Thanks to Peter Goddard, RVCA, our host.
Volunteers needed to revise booklet on tree cultivation. Volunteer needed to coordinate baking.
Art Read, Treasurer, distributed the Financial Report. Balance of $3,661.71 for 2002. Appointment of an auditor or a couple of volunteers needed.
Achievement awards were presented to Peter and Sheila Carr for Oak Valley, John Sankey for Dolman Ridge, and Vera Hrebacka for phone tree, kids' program and Friends of the Nut Grove.
Election of officers: Chair, Sandy Graham, Vice Chair, John Adams, Secretary, Jim Ronson, Treasurer, Art Read, Councillors: Khristina Popadiouk and Sergei Ponomarenko.
John Sankey, People contact us from North America. How do you plant and care for trees? Want sources of seedlings but we are short.
Sandy Graham, Filmore Park has butternut canker. New trees planted. Booklet on the area this spring. Field Day for making trail.
Roman Popadiouk, Arboretum, New books acquired.
Jim Ronson, Shags, New searches found no more. More search to be done but little left. The planting of 450 nuts in various locations in grow boxes should be successful. People suggested investigating Trillium funds and cost of minor genetic research as well as major. We will study more. Could someone donate $30,000. for detailed genetic testing to get MNR protection ?
Mark Richardson on the widespread problem of invasive species.
Patrick Coyne about the ways in which settlement changed the landscape of the South Nation watershed.
Roman Popadiouk on nut culture in European history - changing land use patterns
Hank Jones, ECSONG Past Chair, encouraged members to volunteer for the phone tree, the Kids' Program, the Nuttery Coffee Shop, the Butternut Rescue Team, and the Friends of the Nut Grove. Send articles to the Nuttery, and promote our website.
Meeting adjourned at 3:30PM.
The Lostwithiel Walnut Initiative: Kernel Weight or Kernel
Since I started paying attention to the principal yield components of the black walnut, the two major nut quality characteristics have been front and centre. To start with, I thought it logical to focus on kernel percentage (which I will abbreviate to K%), as the kernel is the market product. I also thought it likely that the higher the K%, the better the extractability of the kernel, as there would be fewer edges around the shell to retain the kernel on cracking. I have not yet resolved this latter aspect, and as I still do not have broader market issues resolved either, I cannot answer another question: small or large nut pieces?
Having spent a good many hours hand cracking black walnut, and examining minutely the ease with which the kernel separates from the shell, I am yet to be convinced that K% is my main selection criterion. One of the reasons for this is that observation suggested that high K% is often associated with smaller nuts (only one of the Grimo selections approaches the larger nuts assessed in this study). Thus the kernel pieces, even if they remain as whole quarters, also tend to be small. Assessing K% also requires considerable time invested in measurement, cracking, separating and weighing. It turns out that kernel weight (KW) can be more simply assessed. In an earlier article (Nuttery, March 2003) I discussed the results of a seed (i.e. nut) study undertaken with 87 samples collected in the fall of 2002. The present article extends the results of that study, examining the inter-relationship of nut dimensions and the kernel.
Table 1 shows the correlation between various aspects of nut dimensions, and kernel characteristics. The sample used is this analysis is almost identical to that reported on in the seed study. The single difference is the elimination of six lines from the total of 87 because of deficiencies in the kernel (mould, aborted, etc.). All coefficients are calculated from mean values of three nuts per line. The way in which data were gathered is outlined in the earlier article's Appendix 1.
Table 1. Correlation coefficients r (and significance levels) between nut and kernel characteristics
Parameter r for KW r for K% NV 0.74 (p<0.0001) 0.25 (p=0.012) NW 0.76 (p<0.0001) 0.25 (p=0.012) L 0.52 (p<0.0001) -0.25 (p=0.012) W 0.75 (p<0.0001) -0.15 (p=0.09) D 0.68 (p<0.0001) -0.26 (p=0.01) L+W 0.71 (p<0.0001) -0.24 (p=0.034) W+D 0.75 (p<0.0001) -0.20 (p=0.037) L+W+D 0.73 (p<0.0001) -0.25 (p=0.012) L:W -0.09 (p=0.21) -0.09 (p=0.21) W:D 0.24 (p=0.015) -0.16 (p=0.08)
Nut volume (NV) was calculated using the formula for an ellipsoid: (V=(4*Pi/3)*(L/2*W/2*D/2)). This required measurement of the three principal dimensions, L ('vertical' distance between the nut's 'poles'), W (the 'horizontal' distance across the nut between its widest points) and D ('horizontal' depth of the nut across the seam). Nut weight (NW) was extremely highly correlated to NV (r=0.97), indicating that the formula for an ellipsoid is satisfactory for estimating NW even though the W measurement was normally greatest 'above', and not on, the equator. The range in NW was 9.8-28.2 g, and NV10.0-33.0 cc.
Of the two kernel measurements, KW was far more highly correlated with NW and NV than was K%. (The range in was KW 2.25-5.96 g, and K% 16.3-33.4%) As larger KW is associated with larger nuts, the relationship between KW or K% and the linear measurements was also examined. Surprisingly, there is no better term than W for estimating KW - the 0.01 difference in the value of r between KW with W and KW with NW is insignificant. Both L and D show lower correlation coefficients with KW, though both are highly significant. However, the value of r2, the coefficient of determination, begins to drop rapidly below an r of 0.70, and L and D appear to be less useful measurements. No combination of linear dimensions, or their ratios, improved over W (though the regression analysis using L+W showed a slightly lower standard error of the Y estimate and narrower confidence intervals for the regression coefficient). As the use of NW requires several extra steps (the nut has to be washed, dried and stored before weighing),a considerable amount of time could be saved in assessing KW in such a large sample of nuts. However, it is possible that had the range in NW and NV been less, the values of r would have been lower. A separate sample of nuts, collected in 2003, will be used to examine this point.
Dimensional ratios were examined because of their range: L varied between 0.80 and 1.29 W, whereas W was never less than D (1.08-1.38). Visual inspection suggested that high K% might be associated with low L:W. However, no value of r exceeded -0.26, and it is instructive that all values of r for linear dimensions were negative, i.e. that K% increases at lower dimensional values. None of the regression equations for estimating K% based on these parameters appears particularly useful, though it is interesting to note that D alone shows the highest correlation (where W showed the strongest correlation to KW). The bare 6% of the variability accounted for suggests that the quantitative prediction of KW from D is of little practical value.
Isn't it obvious that KW should be highly correlated with NV and NW? Well, yes, though the factor of shell weight (or thickness), SW, confounds the relationship. A correlation coefficient of 0.75 indicates that only 56% of the variability is accounted for, and as KW=NW-SW, it is clear that SW has to account for almost all of the remainder (assuming minor errors in measurement).
So, you might ask, why go through all this? Well, a simple test will be very useful in our future tree selection program. Ultimately we will have several thousand trees from which to select. If the market pays a premium (yet to be determined, though suggested by the marketing approach of Hammons Co. Ltd, Missouri)) for larger nut pieces, we can select for larger values of W. While we will need to address the issue of extractability, extracting few larger kernels is likely to be an easier job that extracting many small kernels. Will a tree compensate for high NW and KW by producing fewer nuts? Simple reflection on bioenergetics suggests that this will be the case, but we shall have to wait and see.
Beyond this, however, the very practical issue of mill-setting for cracking requires that we know our range in linear dimensions. We can support this step by undertaking in-shell nut sizing - by designing a sorter that uses the known ranges. The ranges in mm for L, W and D were 27.60-46.63, 28.80-42.40 and 22.70-34.23, respectively. Almost half (48%) of nuts had values of L lower than W. A sieve-type sizer will require circular holes (otherwise, e.g. with slots, all sorting will be done on D); however, the complication of the L:W ratio varying between 0.80-1.29 means that we cannot sort exclusively on W (which is always greater than D), our most useful dimension. Only one nut out of the L<W group (total 117 nuts) showed an L<D (though very close to 1.00; the other two replicates in the same line were L>D). We can almost certainly say, therefore, that it is possible to sort on L or W alone, depending on which is the smaller. Whether we would lose definition in kernel size as a result of a sorting process which could not distinguish between L and W we will only know once we test it experimentally.
However, testing the correlation between KW and the smaller dimension of L or W (i.e. all values of L where L<W, and all values of W where W<L) over our 81 nut lines gave a r of 0.71, smaller than on W alone, though still highly significant (p<0.0001). It appears probable that in the range of operations we conduct, from sorting, through cracking, and to subsequent separation, this slight loss in kernel size definition in the first step may not be very important. However, the sorting itself, where L and W are not distinguished, may have some impact on the efficiency of the cracking process. More about this later.
Table 2 indicates the relevant useful regression equations. In practical terms (based on statistical measures), and within the ranges tested, all means of predicting KW appear equal in utility, though remembering that use of W is the simplest.
Table 2. Selected regression equations, standard errors of estimate and confidence intervals for regression coefficient.
Regression SE of Y Confidence interval (p=.05) Equation estimate of regression coefficient NW 0.7876+0.8317NV 0.863g ±0.009g/cc KW 0.8179+0.1532NV 0.625g ±0.005g/cc KW 0.6419+0.1862NW 0.596g ±0.005g/cc KW -4.3382+0.2279W 0.650g ±0.002g/mm KW -4.0388+0.1095L+W 0.614g ±0.001g/mm KW -3.6926+0.2178X 0.650g ±0.003g/mm (X represents all values of L where L<W and W where W<L)
Provided by ECSONG. Feel free to copy with a credit.