The Nuttery : Volume 3 Number 5 December 1984

In this Issue...

The Winter Meeting

The Nut Use Group has organized the SONG Winter Meeting to be held at the Billings Estate in Ottawa on the 9th of January, 1985 between the hours of 7:30 PM and 9:30 PM in the evening. Several exciting events are planned: seed exchange, tool and product demonstrations, distinguished speakers: Bob Scally, Don Stalker, Pat Doyle, Irmi Underwood. Nut Munchies will be sampled (if you have'em, bring'em). Please use the Cabot Street parking lot. Signs will be posted. The enclosed Billings Estate brochure gives directions. Come and bring your Friends. Nut Munchies are needed for the Winter Meeting. Traditionally, members have brought home- made (and otherwise) munchies made of nuts to our winter meetings for all to sample. These have all been hits, and for many, the high point of the evening. This year we hope to do the same, even to outdo previous years! In the past, we have had nut butters, cakes and candies. Besides these delights, nuts can be made into staples (acorn hamburgers or breads, for example), and beverages (there are a number of pre-eminent liqueurs, made from black walnuts, or hazelnuts amongst others).

This year we have some local black walnuts and butternuts available for eating and cooking. There are also some interesting recipes around (back issues of the Nuttery have a few). If you are interested in bringing something special or novel to the winter meeting, want a recipe to try, or need some of the above nuts for your recipe, call Helen Bender, Winter Meeting Munchie Coordinator, Nepean 224-1102.

Fall Field Day '84

Vincent Massey Park, 29 Sept. - About a dozen dedicated nut gatherers met at 10, listened to a talk by Peter Janas and then collected from three city areas: Lemieux Island/Central, the Experimental Farm and Arboretum, and Britannia/Tunney's Pasture West, returning to Vincent Massey for the picnic and seed exchange around 2 PM.

Peter Janas, head of the National Seed Bank, gave such useful information we wished he'd spoken to us months before. Collectors for the Seed Bank normally follow three rules

  1. Always collect in a good crop year,
  2. Collect from a proper stand, not from isolated individuals, preferably occurring naturally and of good form, free of insect damage, and
  3. Collect mature seed - the first few dropped are generally stress-induced - a good indication of readiness is squirrel activity.

He suggested using a long bamboo pole to tap the branches lightly. Hickories are ready when seed coats are dark brown and the nut light brown, walnuts when outside is greenish black with some pitting, acorns one week after they start falling or when cap comes off easily, and black locust usually two or three weeks into October when pods are black and seeds solid white when opened, with no milky substance - pods should be starting to open.

He also demonstrated some technical aids, such as the incremental borer, height meter and diameter tape. He also cautioned against planting seed from only one tree as it would become too inbred by the second generation. He recommended looking for a "plus" tree, the best of a stand of about 100 trees.

The first frost changes nuts, preparing them to fall, therefore today's date is a good one for collecting. Note from Jim Bartley: with marginal nuts like the black walnut, a tree that produces nuts that mature early is better. Book recommended: Seeds of Woody Plants, C.S.Schopmeyer, USDA.

Moe Anderson and P.Janas checked the black walnut stand on Lemieux Island; Hank Jones, Mark Jones and Cynthia Ross covered the Britannia to Holland Ave. sector; Alec and Kathleen Jones the Experimental Farm; and Joe Ledbetter, Bob Scally and one or two others may have checked V.M.Park. Several brought large numbers of nuts from their home areas and contributed them to the seed exchange. More information on the seed exchange will be available from Alex Jones.

An excellent crop year and a most informative day. Our thanks to Cynthia Ross and Alec Jones for an eventful day!

SONG AGM at Baxter on July 27, 1985

The Ottawa Chapter will host the annual general meeting of the Society of Ontario Nut Growers (SONG) at the Baxter Conservation Area in 1985. SONG is the parent body of the Chapter. The meeting is open to all.

For our Chapter, the main event of the day will be to give a tour of our Baxter Nut Grove. The grove is far enough along to be seen by our colleagues. However, some special grove grooming is in order. The Silviculture Group, with Lorne Harrison as its convenor, tasked with the long term development of the Baxter Grove, has agreed to do this extra grooming. The work will be done as a special project under the direction of George Joiner of the Group. George will be co- convenor responsible for the project. If you are a member of the Silviculture Group and want to join in, call George in Gloucester at 749-2468.

Nut Stratification Project

The Nut Stratification Project was begun to exploit the tremendous nut crop of 1984. Most of the 600 pounds of nuts donated to this project came from Mike Acton and George Truscott. A thousand thanks to both! We estimate we have between 10,000 and 15,000 nuts, mostly Black Walnuts.

On the tenth of November '84, a crew including Ottawa volunteers Nick Jones and Beau Jones; members Timo Aasen, Mark Jones and Hank Jones of the Nut Use Group; Alec Jones and Irmi Underwood of the Horticulture Group; and Rudy Dyck of the RVCA, arrived at the Baxter Nut Grove at 1900 hrs with shovels, chicken wire, trucks and all the nuts. Rudy, Mark and Timo went in the RVCA pickup to Rosario Danis' sawmill near the Rideau River on regional road 13. Rosie filled their truck with wood chips for the stratification pit. Meanwhile, back at the grove, Nick, Beau, Alec and Hank began digging the 20 ft by 4 ft wide by 3 ft deep trench. Not only did the overcast not rain on us, but our trenching found not a single stone or root - all clean, easy digging sand! The trench was finished in only 1¼ hours!

The nuts and chips were gradually dumped into the trench and raked out layer by layer. The combination filled the trench half way to the top. Then the chicken wire was put over the stock and the trench was back filled. The remaining wire mesh covered the mound and stakes were set around the perimeter to demark the pit. Irmi, the Chapter photo librarian, recorded the work in colour slides to document the project. And all the work was done by mid-day!

Now we have enough black walnut stock to enable a reasonable tree-hardiness selection program for the next 3 to 5 years. See the following article re next spring's distribution of the seed.

The Chapter thanks these hardy and generous souls for a spectacular job well done! And special thanks to the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority for Rudy's time and for the use of their pickup, which made the work simpler and more enjoyable.

Allocating the '84 Seed Crop

The bumper crop of nuts from '84 gives us a rare and grand opportunity to try a wide-spread tree selection program for our region. We have an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 black walnut seeds to plant out in spring '85. We would like a wide spread planting, emphasizing the rural areas outside the towns and cities.

The seed will germinate quickly come spring, so the distribution and planting must both be accomplished within just a few days.

We expect the seed to be in high demand. The Seed Allocation Committee, chaired by Gordon MacArthur 487-2201 of Clarence Creek includes George Christie 733-6432 and George Truscott 733-4745, has been formed to prepare a list of individuals and agencies interested in getting some of the seed and to allocate amounts.

This is a call for interested parties to sign up for their share of the seed. If you or your group want seed, phone any member of the Committee as soon as possible. Allocation will be made first come first served, keeping to the guideline of equitable area coverage for the Chapter's region. Though no limit on seed number per request has yet been set, the recipient must be able to plant all seed received. Planting help will be available from the Boy Scouts through member Don Stalker of Ottawa. The distribution as allocated will be managed by the Chapter's Horticulture Group under convenor Alec Jones.

Tool and Product Demonstration for Winter Meeting

If you have any specialised tools used to manage nut trees or handle nuts, bring them along to the demonstration at the winter meeting. Small items made of nuts or nut wood are also eligible. We have several nutcrackers, pickers, a bowl, jewellery and small furniture items coming. Call Mark Jones in Ottawa at 731-5237.

Chapter Gains Five New Members

Since the last Nuttery, five new members have joined the Chapter: Don Stalker of Ottawa, Robin Rogers of Carleton Place, David Bryan of Avonmore, Howard Edel of Gloucester, George Truscott of Ottawa.

We bid them all welcome and invite them to tell us what they hope the Chapter can do for them, and also to join in on any of our present projects and Special Interest Groups.

Paul Bender informs the Nuttery that a new up-to-date membership list is available from him. The only routine distribution of memberships ;lists is in the Nuttery issue following the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in March. We now have 58 memberships, several being families, making a total of about 70 participants.

Fredericton Walnut Toffee

The Nuttery Nut Recipe for this issue comes from the Laura Secord Canadian Cook Book, 1966, p.133. The book claims it is popular for Christmas in the area of Fredericton, New Brunswick. This version of the recipe uses Black Walnuts which are available, growing wild, in the Ottawa area.

Butter a 9-inch square pan thoroughly. Spread in pan - ½ cup black walnut pieces. Mix together in heavy frypan - 1-1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar and 1 cup butter. Cook over medium heat (keep mixture bubbling), stirring constantly, for 12 minutes. Pour toffee mixture quickly over nuts. Sprinkle over hot toffee - 3 squares semi-sweet chocolate, grated ( or one chocolate bar broken into pieces). As chocolate melts, spread until smooth. Sprinkle with more chopped Black Walnuts. Chill and break into pieces.

If you try this recipe, let us know what you think of it. The same book also has a recipe for Butternut Spice Cake, originating in the Bay of Quinte area of Ontario. Anyone got some butternuts to try it with?

Editor's Note

The Nuttery is written on a computer word processor. This makes it easier for you to submit items for publication, e.g. letters to the editor, recipes, want-ads, technical articles and so on. Simply handwrite or type as you wish, mail to the Editor, and your text will be transcribed on the computer and published in the next issue.

I wish to thank all those who have helped put together our newsletter during this past year, particularly Hank Jones and his computer. Without your help I would not have been able to cope in the midst of house construction and contractor problems. I am looking forward to a better year ahead and hope to see all of you at Billings Estate for the winter meeting.

Agnes Macintosh 722-5338

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