The first Immune Hazelnut Orchard in Courtland, Ontario was established in April 2008 Scattered 12-year old immune hazelnut trees were moved into a 20' X 20' orchard setting with a tree spade.
Hazelnut planting at Simcoe Research Station
Dr. Adam Dale
Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph
Since Ferrero built their confectionary plant in Brantford, there has been considerable interest in hazelnuts. They have stated that use at least 6000 tonnes of hazelnuts annually. We estimate that this would take about 12,000 acres of trees. However, many of the varieties used are either susceptible to Eastern Filbert blight or are damaged by our winters. So we need to find out what varieties would be suitable both for our climate and for Ferrero's needs.
This spring we planted our first hazelnut planting with ten varieties and selections. We obtained five varieties from British Columbia, Lewis, Barcelona, Jemstaard, Butler and Clark; two from Grimo Nurseries, Geneva and Grimo l86M; and three from Martin Hodgson. Trees were planted in late April in two of the four replicates in three plant plots, 3m between plants and 6m between rows. The trees for the remaining two replicates were sent to Earthgen International to be grown by their proprietary method. These trees will be planted next year. Also, a thank you to Ernie and Martin for supplying their trees.
Step One; Choosing your rootstock and scion cultivar to be layered
Step Two: Chip budding
Step Three; Putting down new roots
Step Four: A place to grow
Step Five: Leaving the nest
California Walnut Soup
Not until you've tasted this divine soup can you imagine that walnuts could be credited for bringing such rich flavour and creamy texture to a soup. With so few ingredients to assemble, you can whip up this tasty soup in close to 30 minutes and enjoy it for a light a lunch along with salad or as a starter for dinner. A hearty bowl of soup and hearty whole grain bread or whole-wheat pita seem like perfect partners. Provide a tasty spread like hummus and you've got the makings of a terrific meal. Yield: 4 servings ,
1 cup walnuts
2 cups chopped celery (about 3 ribs)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup water
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 cups unsweetened soymilk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon red miso
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon veggie bacon bits
1 green onion, green part only, sliced
Toast the walnuts in a deep skillet over high heat, stirring frequently for about 1 to 2 minutes and remove them to a dish to cool. Combine the celery, onions, garlic, water, and olive oil in a 6 to 8-quart stockpot and cook and stir over high heat for about 7 to 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened and transparent. Add small amounts of water as needed while cooking. Transfer all the vegetables to the blender, or transfer them in 2 batches, add the toasted walnuts, soymilk, miso, salt, tarragon, and pepper and process on low speed for a few seconds. Switch to high speed and process for 30 to 40 seconds, or until the soup is thoroughly pureed and creamy. Return the soup to the stockpot and gently warm it over medium heat. Garnish each bowl with a sprinkle of paprika, veggie bacon bits, and sliced green onions, and serve.
Hazelnut cultivar study program at Simcoe
Dr. Adam Dale was finally successful in obtaining a grant to bring in and study the potential of a number of varieties of Hazelnut cultivars at the Simcoe station. Samples will be selected from local varieties and selected specimens from Oregon and possibly New Jersey. The first group was planted this spring with others to follow next year.
Meeting with Ferrero Roche
We were finally able to meet with the new management at Ferrero Roche in May. We were warmly received and it would appear that they are willing to look at non-traditional shaped nuts for up to 80% of their stock provided they meet their taste and blanching requirements. This will prove very favourable for local hazelnuts that typically tend to be oval in shape rather than the l/2"dia. round Turkish variety. Future meetings are planned this year at currently unspecified dates.
Nut samples from Oregon State University and some locally grown examples were delivered to their office for study in Italy. Roasted samples of local nuts were presented during the meeting with at least one sample receiving a good review with regards to taste. (This tree from Hodgson's orchard in Courtland has exhibited great vigour and high nut yield. Prior to a heavy pruning in 2007, it yielded 14 Ib of wet nuts on a 12-year-old tree).
There has been a great deal of mumbling from various government agencies, that disperse grant money, that there may be monies coming that we might be able to tap into. It is not here yet!
The establishment of hazelnuts is not something that will save the tobacco farmers; it can only be a sideline crop for the first 8-10 years. Then it can get serious. Especially when a proven market will take the entire product from 15 to 22,000 acres of land.
It will take about 60 million dollars and 2 million trees to do this, but it will not start on its own because there is a critical mass of produce that must be made available to Ferrero Roche before they would be willing to switch. Best estimate 25 to 50% of their current supply. It could be less though if world conditions force them to do it. It will take some form of government support for this to happen because the entire system must be established from grower to harvest equipment to cleaner and dryers to cracking plants.
It would probably be best to do this in a stepped program where an initial industry is established using known viable varieties, followed by a second wave in ten to twenty years with improved varieties and then finally bring in any better new varieties as they are found or developed.
The extraction of Taxol from immune hazelnut tree's biomass could prove to be a quick way of establishing the cultivation of hazelnut trees. Taxol's presence has been recorded but as of yet not been very well quantified in hazels.
If the level of Taxol proves viable, windrows or hedges of the trees could be pruned annually for their content. This would carry the farmer over the long dry 8-10 year hump of no salable product. After a certain point of time, the hedges could be tree spaded out and used to establish a nut orchard. Annual pruning could then continue to fill in the biomass requirements.
To start this we must first establish that there is product in the hazels. This should be done through a government grant with the University of Guelph where graduate level students would carry out a detailed survey of the levels of Taxol in immune and native hazels to determine the overall potential of producing the chemical from these trees. I have been told that there is good potential for a grant so we will attempt to pursue this idea.
Butternut Farm 2008 spring review
Spring thaw came a few days later in early April this year than last, but stayed around long enough for the Hazels to carry out a full pollenization. Contrary to BC where the hazels can take months to complete the job, it looks like the varieties we have here all get it on within a week or so of each other and are all done in two to three weeks. Late and early pollenizers are still a good idea, but I think that it is not a big deal here. Time will tell. Further research is needed in this matter.
A late April frost burnt all of the heartnut flower buds off and there will be no heartnuts this year. We do not believe that it hurt the hazels or the chestnuts at this time. Stay tuned for updates.
We finally took the big step to consolidate our scattered brood. We rented a large Bobcat track mounted tree spade and shifted about half of the surviving hazelnut trees that were thriving around the farm. We moved about 50 of the remainders of 1997 planting into an orchard array based on a 20 x 20 ft. orientation. All were large, multi-stemmed trees 10 to 15 ft high and 10 to 12 ft. wide.
We trimmed the trees down to about 6-10 stems to help conserve their strength and reduce wind load. The wet spring has certainly been a blessing to help them along. It was very apparent during the lifting operations that these trees are very shallow rooted, with next to no roots below the 24-inch depth. A low nitrogen/phosphorous and high potash liquid fertilizer was used to promote root growth. We expect that it will take at least two years minimum to get these trees back to growing at the normal rate, however with the drastic pruning that occurred means that they will not have to build up as much wood as before. It will also serve as a test to prove that large hazels can be transferred around the orchard successfully when new orchards go from a 12 X 20 pattern to a 24 X 20' at the 12 to 15 year point. We are hoping that this is just the start of a revitalized hazelnut orchard that, along with the numerous clones we are producing will allow us to get back to a productive nut orchard fairly soon. In the mean time we will have most of the trees in a concentrated area where we can collect the harvest and study them more easily.
Speaking of clones, we were able to pull off about 200 or so clones from stool beds located around selected specimens last year. They seem to be thriving in specialized rooting containers and should be ready for nursery-planting this fall.
Niagara in a Basket
Niagara AgriTourism and Club 2000 are assisting a group of Niagara producers to collaborate on an exciting new project. We have formed The Niagara Local Food Co-operative and elected an interim Board of directors, including Linda Grimo as co-Treasurer.
The Niagara Local Food Cooperative is an innovative marketing and distribution system for local farmers, agriculture producers, and consumers. Their goals are to ensure sustainable agricultural practices, increase farm income, while providing consumers with the freshest food available straight from the farmer. Membership is open to agricultural producers and consumers within the Niagara Region. ,
Using the internet, each month farmer members will post what they have available on the website. Members will order online using a shopping cart from all the products posted that month. One day a month farmers and producers will bring the products to a distribution point where the items will be sorted into customer orders. Later that day, the customers will arrive to pick up their fresh local produce.
This will allow consumers to know where their food was grown, who grew it, and the story behind it. Members who are interested in producing foods using locally grown ingredients may sell their products as well. All products will be grown or produced by co-op members.
The website is currently under construction, but should be ready with more details and information in the near future. The co-op aims to be up and running by October so the fall harvest including apples, pears, pumpkins, root crops, meats, honey, breads, and of course nuts - can find it's way onto local tables.
We are currently looking for local farmers, producers, and consumers. You can contact Linda Grimo at email@example.com if you have questions about how to get involved.
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