1987 SONG Meetings in Review
More than 250 growing items were brought out to the Spring Auction at the Civic Garden Centre, Don Mills, Ontario to tantalize the bidding appetites of more than 55 people in attendance. The bidding was vigorous; the prices were reasonable and everybody went home with a few more horticultural treasures for their nut tree planting. Also, there were some tasty baked goods which were for sale and a good selection of nut tree books were available for review and purchase. This event was another example of how valuable the nut tree auctions are for getting numbers of people started on their way to successful northern nut growing.
Annual Meeting at Guelph
The Annual Meeting was held at the Guelph Arboretum on July 18, 1987. The elections for the new officers produced the following results for calendar 1988:
President: Murial Braham
Vice President: James Harvey
Treasurer: Marion Grimo
Secretary: Bob Hambleton
Editor: Doug Campbell
Auditor: Joyce Branston
The new nominating committee was constituted with the following members:
Heinz Baumgarten (Chairman), Roy Metcalfe, Paul Bennett
Other notable items consisted of an additional donation of James Harvey of $2500 for further funding of the Nut Tree Manual as authored by John Gordon. Again, many thanks are extended to Jim for his generosity. Further donations are requested from other members as well, since it will take more than $12,000 to produce 1000 copies of the Manual. There were discussions of the several nut seed distributions and Roy Metcalfe offered ideas for review of the heartnut initiative. Ernest Grimo reviewed the activities of the New Crop Introduction Program for nut trees and Marion Grimo promoted further action for assembling a nut recipe Cook Book.
There was discussion about the 1989 Annual Meeting to be held in St. Catharines on August 5 ... just immediately before the Northern Nut Growers Association's annual meeting on August 6-9. This item shall be subject to a confirmatoy vote at the 1988 Annual Meeting of SONG. John Gordon provided a most interesting discussion and demonstration on grafting of nut trees. John Ambrose took the group on a tour of the Arboretum's nut tree plantings. It was observed that the low lying site was in fact a "frost pocket" location and not suitable for most nut trees. Growth rates were slow in most cases and several trees were dead or dying. The Arboretum is going to examine its grounds for a better location for its nut tree collection. Many thanks are extended to John Ambrose for hosting the summer meeting at The Arboretum.
Fall Meeting at Brighton
October 17, 1987 produced a very exciting meeting at Brighton, Ontario. There were some impressive displays of nuts produced in the province of Ontario and also a taste tempting demonstration on the roasting of chestnuts.
Although the chestnuts were roasted in a countertop oven rather than the more traditional "open fire", it was the opinion of all that the Ontario product has a fine taste and that chestnuts can be marketed successfully when they are grown in quantity in Ontario. Other nut displays consisted of quantities of heartnuts, Persian walnuts, hazels, almonds, etc.
A very special experience was the tour of the Agriculture Canada nut tree planting at the Smithfield Experiment Station. Dr. Sherwood Miller explained their nut tree establishment which occupies about 3 acres. The initial response of the trees has been very, very successful. Growth rates have been excellent and foliage appearance/colour is above average. Agriculture Canada has been especially successful in eliminating insect pressures upon the trees and the fertility level of the soil has been maintained very proficiently. All of this points to some promising results in the next few years. Dr. Miller is especially interested in the heartnuts as a potential world-class producer oi nut kernels in Ontario. He was also successful in getting his views on heartnuts published in the farm press in the fall of 1987. SONG owes Dr. Miller a generous vote of thanks for the outstanding support and interest which he has taken in nut growing.
Further Outstanding Seed Distributions
The hazel-filbert harvest of 1987 was fairly generous but perhaps somewhat down from the 1986 fall harvest. Nevertheless, it was gratifying to see two good crops in a row. This further crop has made it possible to offer "hazelberts" for distribution and these have the best combination of potential qualities for production, nut size and flavour which can be obtained anywhere in North America.
Also, the pecan hunters of the northern Mississippi regions were especially fortunate and
successful in the fall of 1987. The most northern pecan groves at New Boston, Illinois were
prolific with nuts. These types respond to the shortest growing season in the natural range of the
pecan. In fact, the latitude of location for these trees is very close to that of southern Ontario.
Already known tests indicate that a high percentage of these trees will be able to mature well
filled nuts in Ontario. Also, the northern pecan produces a sturdy, hardy tree which is
exceptionally resistant to insects and diseases. So ... there it is, folks. That's the opportunity and
now it's up to you!
Seed nuts: Hazelberts (Hazel-Filberts), Northern Pecans
8 Nuts for $4.00 Chairman Send inquiries/checks to: R.D. Campbell, R.R.#1 Niagara-on-the-Lake ON LOS 1JO
Growing directions are included with each package of seed. Do not send cash in the mail. It takes about 4-5 years to produce the first hazelbert nuts from seed and the pecans require about 8-10 years to their first production of nuts from seed.
Multiple packages of seed can be ordered at these rates as long as supplies last.
Alternate Crop Introduction News
Mike Columbus of the Ontario Alternate Crop Transition Team, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Simcoe hosted a delegation of SONG representatives in November of 1987. Some very positive responses were received on the growing of heartnuts in quantity in Ontario. In fact, the possibilities of a world-class market for Ontario produced kernels were discussed ... such items as:
All of this has a special application in the tobacco lands of Simcoe, Delhi, Tilsonburg, etc. It js interesting to note that heartnuts do especially well on tobacco lands. Also, it's a curious fact that the forced-air tobacco kilns make excellent facilities for drying nuts as well as tobacco! It all points to some exciting opportunities for Ontario farmers to develop a crop which could make a major impact on international markets.
Nebraska Tree Seed Distribution
The Nebraska Nut Growers Association is continuing its distribution of worthy, northern nut tree seeds. The species they supply are "mixtures" of seeds containing approximately 5 of at least eight of the following species for a total of 40 seeds: Carpathian Walnut, Hazelnut, Shagbark Hickory, Northern Pecan,American Chestnut, Pawpaw, Korean Nut Pine, Black Walnut, Hican, Shellbark Hickory. The cost per package is $20.00 U.S. Send all requests and checks to: Nebraska Nut Growers Association, P.O. Box 4644, Lincoln NE USA 68504
Preservation of the Sweet Chestnut
The Norfolk Field Naturalists have made a banner issue out of saving the remaining specimens of sweet (American) chestnut which stand in the Norfolk County area. It is believed that there are still several dozen of these trees alive and well ... but not necessarily producing nuts because of isolation/pollination problems. If you want to hear more about this issue and aid in the preservation of this valuable forest nut species, you may contact: Mr. Fred Jonckheere, Chairman, Destruction of Trees Committee, Norfolk Field Naturalists, Box 995, Simcoe ON N3Y 5B3
Some Snack Food Facts
The publisher, Business Trends Analysts, has reported that the Snack Food Industry in the U.S.A. was worth $23.1 billions in calendar 1984 and this market is expanding at more than 9 percent per year and is predicted to reach the $56.9 billions mark by 1994. Nut kernels are included as part of this market... in fact, $1.2 billions in packaged kernels in 1984. Furthermore, nuts are being looked upon more favourably as diet conscious snackers are moving away from the more starchy items to the "health" snack foods. This trend is further compounded by the shift in age categories as the post-war baby boomers leave far behind their teenage years and drift into their early forties. Things like yogurt have benefited from this trend to "natural, healthy snacks" too. Per capita sales of yogurt have more than doubled in the last decade. At the same time, the actual unit sales of snack cookies, pies and cakes are on the decline. What does all this say for nut growing/marketing? Well ... it's going to be great and those who capitalize early on the shifting snack food markets are the ones who are going to do best financially.
If you want to learn more about the snack food markets, try this publication:
The U.S. Snack Food Market
Available from: Business Trend Analysts 2171 Jericho Turnpike Commack NY USA 11725
The price is only a small bite ... US$595.00
If this whets your appetite, there are companion publications at a similar price such as:
The Ethnic Foods Market
The American Candy Market
The Market for Bakery Products
Provided by SONG. Feel free to copy with a credit.