SONG News October 1999 no. 56
In this Issue...

Annual Summer Meeting at the Grimo Nut Farm and Nursery
A Great Success

This years annual summer meeting was held on another glorious July day at the Nut Farm and Nursery of Ernie and Marion Grimo at Niagara-on-the-Lake. With such great weather the event attracted approximately 60 Nut enthusiasts from across Ontario. Most people brought a picnic lunch and lawn chairs (please remember them for the fall meeting) and those that did not were found seating by the Grimo's on pails with planks. Our speaker of the day was Mr. Brad Henry from the Canadian Forest Service who talked with the executive members first about his presentation, and then gave the presentation to the membership. Each nut grower is a private woodlot owner and would benefit from commitment 8.7 of the National Forest Strategy, which states that:* We will increase the environmental, economic, social and cultural benefits derived from woodlots by identifying private woodlot research needs, undertaking relevant research and establishing mechanisms through which new knowledge can be transferred to woodlot owners".

There were several grower reports. Paul McCully gave a report for Martin Hodgson about pesticide registration. Ernie Grimo gave a presentation on the various harvesting methods and machines he uses to retrieve his nut crops. John Gordon gave an informative talk on Paw Paws or the Northern Banana, which is a native tree in the Niagara area.

Elections were held and the following are the new executive for the year 1999- 2000. Chris Cunliffe is the new President ,Bruce Graham is Vice President, Bob Ham-bleton retains Secretary, Ernie Grimo retains Treasurer, Bruce Thurston retains Editor, and Dolf Wynia is Director of Research. Our new President Chris Cunliffe

After the meeting we had a tour of the Nut Groves and nursery areas. We thank Ernie and Marion for their hospitality and for showing us their great nut growing operation.

Nut Products of North America
R. D. Campbell

Foods based on nut production are taking on a new prominence in North America now that the consumption of red meats is being downgraded, particularly in the oil contents. The various nuts have much better profiles of mono and polyunsaturates, which are more "user friendly" for human heart and circulatory systems. Historically, nut growing has always been a significant contributor to the North American Diet. The early European settlers on the eastern seaboard found that stores of Hickory nuts, sweet chestnut, American hazel, butternut, and beech nuts were very useful in surviving the long and cold winters. Oddly enough, the nuts of early use have remained as micro-market products and other nuts, most of which are non-native, have become the prominent items of commerce.

The Exportable Nuts
Pecan: This is the only native North American tree which has advanced to International prominence as a nut producer. The richly flavored kernels are a favorite as a raw / fresh product or in many kinds of baked goods. Pecan-pralines, cookies and especially pecan pies are well known items to most North Americans. The better known variety names of Pecan trees are Stuart, Schley Wichita, Shawnee, Mohawk, Mahan. Discriminating consumers will find that there are personal favorites in flavour and texture.

English Walnut: This species has several other names such as Persian, Carpathian, Manregian etc. and basically are all thin shelled walnuts of the species Juglans Regia. It is a well known nut throughout the world and is grown in quantity in areas such as China, India, Africa, Australia many European countries as well as North America. The trees do especially well in California and the products are widely exported. The kernels are sometimes consumed as a raw product but the biggest application is in baked goods where they appear universally wherever "nuts" are part of the ingredient list. Consumers may find preference among the variety names such as Hartley, Payne, Chandler, Spurgeon, Franquette.

Almonds: This species originated in the eastern Mediterranean areas where winters are rela- tively mild. California produces a huge tonnage of this product and is exported throughout the world. The different varieties of Almond have specialized uses from raw product to salted / candied forms as well as several formats for baked goods. The flavour of Almond is widely accepted and very few people exhibit allergenic reaction to this nut. Some of the key varieties that consumers will find in the market place are Non Pareil, Mission, Ne Plus Ultra, Peerless, and Merced.

Peanut: The nut, which is known around the world, comes from the ground rather than from a tree. There are many forms from Virginian to Spanish forms and some are known for their famous dark red skins. Peanuts are eaten raw, roasted, salted and roasted, blanched, in butters, candies, and all kinds of baked goods. The flavours vary from very mild to quite strong. The skins tend to have the strongest part of the flavour and therefore, the blanched presentations tend to have the mildest flavour. Peanuts are grown primarily in the Virginia/Carolina/Georgia areas of the United States and the products are widely exported. Ontario has a small growing area in the Simcoe Tobacco area as an alternative crop.

The Domestic Market Nuts
Black Walnut: Although up to 30 million pounds of this nut are harvested in good years, it is seldom exported out of North America. The flavour of this nut is full, strong, rooty, and herbal. The people who are fond of this nut like it very much but some find it too strong. The ones who tend to like it are older people more so than the young, however when it is presented in a finely shred-ded fornxon cakes and ice creams, most will find it exquisite. Finely chopped black walnut in the vanilla form of "refrigerator cookies" are absolutely marvelous. The black walnut tree produces timber, which sells for a high price on the export market, and even the shells are valuable as a final polish for high value machine parts.

Hazel: This nut is sometimes referred to as the European filbert. It is the same nut of commerce as is produced in Europe, Asia, and many other parts of the world. North America does not produce enough of this nut to supply domestic demand so that exports are limited to specialty uses. For example, some of the very large sized nuts are shipped to Germany for in-shell sales. Some of the better known varieties are Barcelona, Ennis, Halls Giant.

Pistachio: Most of this nut used to come from Iran but recent politics have given rise to large new plantings in California where the species grows reasonably well. The quality control of this California supply is much better than the previous sources and the eating is truly a treat. Most of the product appears in the roasted/salted snack-pack and the market is rather pricey. Sometimes this nut appears in ice creams but seldom seen in baked goods. There are several varieties of pistachio such as "Kerman", "Red Aleppo", and "Trabonella".

Macadamia: This nut is relatively new to North American markets and it has to be grown in completely tropical areas, such as Hawaii. The nuts come from in a very hard thick shell and are difficult to crack. They have a very mild taste when fresh and the texture is somewhat fine and oily. It will become more popular when supplies increase and prices become more competitive with other kinds of nuts.

Micro-market Nuts
Hickories: The species are close relatives of the pecan and are described by many as the finest flavoured of all the nut eating experiences. They are available on a very local basis but they do find their way onto the menus of some upscale restaurants in pricey desserts.

Butternuts: These nut trees are close relatives of the walnuts, but as the name implies they are a very rich and oily nut. Supplies are very localized but the baked goods produced there from are sensationally delicious.

Beech: These trees, are a distant relative to the chestnut but the nuts are a bit oilier, but not as oily as walnut/almonds etc. Again it is a exotic local item which is delightful but not highly available.

Pine Nuts: Some kinds of pine nuts are available in the south western parts of the USA and supplies are pricey. The Pinion pine dominates the market. Some growers on the eastern seaboard are experimenting with the Korean pine.

Heartnut: These are also relatives of the walnut, and is somewhat of a new introduction to North America. The nuts get their name from the heart shape of the shell. The taste is like a mild English walnut, but the texture is a bit softer and oilier. Various taste test panels have preferred the heartnuts to the English walnuts. An acreage of this species is emerging in southern parts of Canada at which time this choice will become more widely available. It is already a favorite of many upscale restaurants.

As with all natural products, the availability and prices of the North American nuts vary noticeably from season to season.

Randy Pollak's Persimmon Pudding
Yield: 6 Servings
1 c flour
1 c sugar
1 tsp soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
l egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c milk
1 c persimmon pulp
1 tbls melted butter
1 c chopped nuts
1/2 c raisins
1 egg yolk
3/4 c powdered sugar
1-2 tsp rum or brandy
1 whipped egg white
1/2 c whipped cream
Mix the persimmon puree and the baking soda together and let it stand. Cream together the sugar and butter, then add the egg, milk, vanilla, (rum) and persimmon mixture. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix. Pour into well-buttered pudding mold or tin can (i.e., a coffee can). Fill them only 2/3 full. Place the mold on a trivet in a pan over a few inches of boiling water. (I use one of those folding steamer baskets). Cover the pan and steam over low heat for 2 hours. You will need to add more boiling water as it evaporates. When a skewer tests clean, it is done. Let stand in the mold uncovered for about 15 minutes. Turn onto a plate and let cool, or serve warm with hard sauce, or whipped cream. Beat the egg yolk with powdered sugar and rum or brandy. Fold in whipped egg white and whipped cream.

Sweet Potatoes With Persimmons
1 c Water
1 Ib Fresh sweet potatoes, peeled and cut
1/2 c Sugar
2 Persimmons, sliced
Juice of 1/2 lemon and lime
Put all ingredients into saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until sweet potatoes are done and medium syrup is formed.

Chestnut Investigations in 1998 and 1999 at Woodwinds
Dolf Wynia

Growing Chinese chestnuts amongst the remains of the old Norfolk County forest stands, brings with it many challenges. The slightly acid sandy soils should be excellent for growing chestnuts commercially, particularly now that tobacco acreage is expected to become less. Unfortunately, the forest remnants still contain some old sources of chestnut blight infection and many of the Chinese hybrids have not proved to be totally resistant.

The newly planted grafted hybrids almost all died during the second growing season after planting. This happened for several years in a row and had it not been for several trees (142Q from Ernie Grimo) that escaped and performed very well I would have been out of the nut business some years ago. The deaths were blamed on everything, such as drought, herbicide damage, graft rejection, grass competition, various possible diseases and probably general neglect. In 1998,1 finally sent some samples of my dead trees to two laboratories and they both reported 100% infection with chestnut blight. At least now I think I know for sure that the hybrids are not resistant and probably are more susceptible when stressed.

To avoid stress, recent plantings all received regular drip irrigation, mulching and weed control, yet 100% died in the 1997 planting. The question now is do the trees come infected or do they get infected after planting?

To test the local infection chances I grew some rootstock in 1997 in containers and grafted them in 1998. To my pleasant surprise, six of the grafts took and grew very well after planting out late in July 1998. Hopes were dashed however when in the spring of 1999 all were dead. The positive result from the laboratory was that there was no * blight infection but that some other disease was present and there was even some insect damage. In all cases the roots were also killed, a fairly safe sign that blight was not the culprit.

In the spring of 1999 I obtained some rootstock from Martin Hodges and was 100% successful in the grafting. These trees were planted out in early August 1999 and I am waiting to see how they winter. I plan to protect the grafts with "Tubex" this time after the leaves have fallen or at least are dead. I have also grafted hybrid scions on root suckers and some of them seem to be doing OK so far. The one successful root sucker graft that I did in 1997 is bearing fruit this year.

Losses in the 1998 planting seem to be less than usual, maybe because I have been spraying the lower portions of the young trees with Bordeaux Mixture. I also treated the 1999 grafts with this spray. Recently I have added some Methoxychlor to discourage insects. The spring of 2000 should hopefully bring some more answers.

This report would not be complete without an expression of appreciation to Dr. Alan Mcke-own and Dr. Greg. Boland at Guelph University and Dr. Martin Hubbes at the University of Toronto for their help and advice.

Canadian Chestnut Council News

Inventory of Public Buildings in Ontario Featuring Chestnut
Canadian Chestnut Council (CCC) Director, Margaret (Peggy) Lang is gathering information on the existence of churches and other public buildings featuring construction and or furnishings made of Chestnut wood.

Across southern Ontario there stand several buildings framed with Chestnut timbers. A few churches have Chestnut pews. Other buildings have staircase railings, newel posts and balustrades made from Chestnut. An interesting history is unfolding, so if you can help Peggy with her-project, please send your information to Peggy Lang, 16 Devon St., Brantford, Ontario N3RlL8 or to the Secretary-treasurer, Ross Pamenter, R.R.#1 Orangeville Ontario, L9W 2Y8

Breeding Chestnut for Blight Resistance
When TACF was established in 1983, the founders showed wisdom in recognizing that a more secure source of funding was necessary to carry the thrust of a blight-resistant breeding program. They turned to a receptive public audience that responded. In large measure it has been this public response that has centred the promising breeding program at Meadowview, Virginia. About a decade ago the Wagner sisters bequeathed an 80 acre farm to TACF for the chestnut project.

Five or so years later, the nearby Glen C. Price family donated a 100 acre farm to the effort. On these two farms TACF administrators and research staff are advancing their blight-resistant breeding program. Other benefactors have donated monies, farm equipment etc. This is the kind of dedication that is required today to return a threatened hardwood tree species to the biosphere.

CCC is now at a point where it requires secure funding to advance its programs. We hope Canada may be as successful as its TACF counterpart in obtaining the required financial support and enthusiasm The CCC is looking for property in the old Chestnut belt that would serve as a suitable site for growing resistant Chestnut hybrids and advancing them to promising germplasm lines that will eventually restock our woodlands.

CCC members and Chestnut enthusiasts can help us reach our goal. No effort is to small to be of value.

90th Annual NNGA Meeting
Marilynda Cunliffe

Who would ever believe that heaven was only a nineteen hour drive away? Well, if you're an Ontario nut grower looking at your young trees, then the Northern Pecan Research Orchard at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln is heaven on earth. They are practically up to their armpits in pecans and black walnuts at the site of this years NNGA meeting. After 20 or so years of research, the trees are rapidly filling up all of the allotted space. The next step is to move the most promising cultivars out to farms where, with more space, commercial trials can begin. Details may be on a Lincoln website in the near future.

The event was kicked-off in fine fashion with a pizza dinner and the Show 'n' Tell - which was MC'd by our own Doug Campbell. And the education and sharing continued with a fine line-up of speakers that Marilynda Cunliffe and her committee arranged to have speak to the captivated audience. One exhibit room was filled with a dazzling array of nuts from the 1997 Nebraska Nut Evaluation. A second exhibit room contained commercial exhibits and displays, organized by Ernie Grimo. John Martyn, another SONG member completed his term of office on the nominating committee. We would like to thank him for his service to the NNGA.

The meeting was a successful and educational venture, and worth the drive to Lincoln. My only regret, if I was to have one, would be that our visit was at the beginning of August instead of late September.

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