SONG News May 2014 no.100
In this Issue...

How far! How high indeed!
Ernie Grimo

It was the fall of 1972 when SONG was organized and published its No. 1 newsletter. We have now published our 100th!

How far have we gone in the 42 years of SONG's existence, you ask?
Let me see...we have the same SONG President again, but with an updated message and not enough room to put it all here. SONG's major accomplishments include and are not limited to:

  1. SONG has encouraged the development of 3 other nut clubs in Canada. These include ECSONG, Quebec Nut Growers, and recently the Atlantic Provinces Nut growers.
  2. SONG/ECSONG has supported numerous research projects, the most notable being the non-profit incorporation of the Ontario Hazelnut Association (OHA) and a hazelnut industry. /
  3. SONG/ECSONG have established demonstration plantings across the province in some unlikely places for nut trees to grow, with success, I might add.
  4. The printing of 4 SONG/ECSONG books, the addition of spray materials for nuts (section 8 of the Ontario spray calendar), a world class website, nut cleaning and processing equipment... and more.

More Food on Urban Tables
20 Communities to Have More Edible Trees

Supported by Loblaw, Silk, and TELUS, Edible Trees provides grants of up to $4,000 to municipalities, schools, and community gardens to purchase, plant, and maintain fruit and nut trees.

"Fruit and nut trees do more than just clean the air and beautify our neighbourhoods," said Michael Rosen, Tree Canada President. "The trees planted will become valuable sources of healthy food for these communities."

"At Silk we believe plant-based nutrition is a better, more sustainable way to feed people and the planet," said Valeric Fleck, Vice President of Whitewave Foods in Canada. "The Edible Trees program fits perfectly with our mission and we are thrilled 20 communities can benefit in 2014."

The increasing popularity of this program can be seen by the substantial applications that were sent to Tree Canada, of which the following 20 community groups were selected:

Tree Canada is a not-for-profit charitable organization that works with sponsors, donors, and communities to plant and care for rural and urban trees, promotes urban forests in Canada, and facilitates carbon offset projects with trees. To date, more than 80 million trees have been planted, more than 460 schoolyards have been greened, and Tree Canada has organized 10 national urban forest conferences. More information about Tree Canada is available at
Richard Walker, Director of Communications and Program Development, Tree Canada

The Eastern Ontario Butternut Recovery Story

The Butternut is a lovely native tree with a wide distribution in central and eastern United States reaching its northern limits in southern Ontario, southern Quebec and New Brunswick. They have co-existed with other trees in the forests of Eastern Ontario for thousands of years. Now, Butternuts everywhere are under attack by the Butternut Canker Disease. This deadly fungal disease attacks all Butternuts regardless of size or age and there is no known cure. Trees slowly lose vigour, branches start dying and thin black sooty patches appear on the bark. Butternut is classified as an endangered species by both the provincial and federal governments.

Is there anything we can do? Fortunately, some individual Butternut trees seem to be more tolerant than others, just as some people appear to be naturally more resistant to human illnesses than others. From this simple observation, several groups have developed a Butternut Recovery Program to try and avoid the extinction of one of our most beautiful trees. The Forest Gene Conservation Association, the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority and hundreds of concerned landowners and environmental groups in Eastern Ontario are now into year 8 of the Eastern Ontario Butternut Recovery Program.

The basic plan consists of finding and mapping tolerant Butternuts, checking the DNA to avoid hybrids, collecting seeds and then growing healthy seedlings at the Ferguson Forest Centre in Kemptville for out-planting on properties all over the region. The partners also collect scions (small branch cuttings) from the healthiest trees to graft onto walnut rootstock and grow in protected archives with the ultimate goal of producing vigorous, new Butternut seedlings for re-introduction into Ontario's forests.

The results are starting to come in. Trained Butternut Health Assessors have visited 836 properties across Eastern Ontario (by invitation of the property owners) searching for healthy Butternut trees; they have documented 14,677 live Butternuts of which 452 were assessed as pure, possibly genetically-tolerant trees for seed collection; they have collected 54,500 Butternut seeds from healthy trees since 2010, and grown and out-planted 14,605 seedlings on 1,450 different properties thanks to our generous landowners. In addition, the Butternut Program Recovery partners have 94 Butternut grafts growing in the Kemptville Archive and have participated in Butternut research projects with other forest institutes in Canada and the United States.

The early results of Butternut recovery are encouraging. The health and vigour of the out-planted Butternuts will be monitored in the years ahead to see how many show disease tolerance in the next generation. Research on immature seed collection, artificial propagation of multiple healthy trees from one embryo, and long-term preservation of healthy embryos is also encouraging.

"Butternut Tree, A Landowner's Guide" written by the Butternut Recovery Partners including the Forest Gene Conservation Association is an excellent easy-reading source of more information on this interesting native tree. It is available for downloading free of charge by typing Butternut Landowners Guide into your browser.

You will also find Butternut stories, results and pictures on the RVCA website at; click on "Protecting Our Land" on the left-hand side, and then on Butternut Recovery Program under Index.

More information: Rose Fleguel, Chief Butternut Specialist, Rideau Valley Conservation Authority ; (613)858-3678

The Union Square Cafe's Bar Nuts
Nigelia Lawson 2007

2-1/4 cups (18-ounces) assorted unsalted nuts, including peeled peanuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans and whole unpeeled almonds
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 2 teaspoons dark brownsugar ,..,,..... , , >
2 teaspoons Maldon or other sea salt, 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Directions Preheat the oven to 350°F. Toss the nuts in a large bowl to combine and spread them out on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven until light golden brown, about 10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the rosemary, cayenne, sugar, salt and melted butter. Thoroughly toss the toasted nuts in the spiced butter and serve warm. And once you eat these, you will never want to stop.

Chile in February
Linda Grimo

This February, I had the opportunity to travel to Chile on behalf of the Ontario Hazelnut Association, OHA, along with Rob Haynes from Mori Nursery. We are both directors on the Board of the OHA and traveled to Chile to see the Ferrero nurseries, plantations and drying facilities. Vince Pelletier, a farmer in Niagara-on-the-Lake joined us to learn more about the hazelnut industry.

Chile is in the South Western part of South America and has interesting agricultural implications due to its location along the southern coast. It has coastal climates, desert regions in the north, cold temperatures in the south, and fertile regions between the two mountain ranges that stretch down through the entire country.

The Ferrero agricultural industry in Chile is named, Fruiticola AgriChile. They have established nurseries and farmland in both the North and South areas of Chile. The AgriChile offices are in Camarico, a 2 hour drive south of the airport in Santiago.

Our hosts for the week were Co-General Managers Eugenio Ulrici and Camillo Scocco and Gabriel Valdes, their agronomist who provides guidance to the Chilean growers.

Camillo and Eugenio shared the company history and their experience growing hazelnuts in Chile. They established nurseries to propagate the plants for the potential hazelnut farms. Initially the Chilean growers were hesitant about growing hazelnuts since it was a new agricultural venture in Chile, so AgriChile moved forward beginning in 2000 and purchased land to plant their own orchards.

In 2003 and 2004 they worked steadily to build relations with the growers. Soon after, the Chilean farmers began planting hazelnuts using the nursery trees grown at the Ferrero owned, AgriChile nurseries. Eugenio explained that they missed an opportunity early in the planning to engage some farmers due to the farmer's financial positions. As a result AgriChile now creates contracts with all their growers to demonstrate an obligation for the growers to sell to Ferrero and for Ferrero to buy their crops, even from the first year of production. These contracts enable the growers to get the financing they need to get established. These farmers are now planting approximately 1000 hectares per year.

In Ontario, the OHA has developed a Memorandum of Understanding to work closely with Ferrero Canada to show the same level of commitment to Ontario growers.

AgriChile has two main areas in Chile. The northern area is centered around Camarico and includes acreage at San Sebastian and Los Niches. They have a nursery hi the north, and a separate one set up in the south due to phytosanitary regulations that made it difficult to transport trees to the southern regions.

Both nurseries use layering as their technique for propagation. They found cuttings not to be efficient and tissue culturing to be too expensive. The nursery in the north has over 800,000 potted layered trees. The nursery in the south does not use pots, but instead plants all the nursery trees in field grown nursery rows. They have 35 ha of mother plants. It was quite impressive.

Northern Chile does not get much rainfall and all agricultural success is dependent on irrigation. Most of the rain falls in June to August (their winter) and harvest is in February and March. In the south rainfall is year round

They have experimented with row spacing of 4m x 5m, 3m x 5m, and 3m by 6m. They found that the production seemed best on the 3m x 5m spacing (double density). When the second tree is completely removed, by year 15 the permanent trees are able to grow a full canopy and fill hi the space required for full production.

When planting the orchards they recommend:

They harvest every row twice during the season. Before the second harvest employees are sent with backpack blowers to move the nuts away from around the stems and into the rows. This allows them to harvest the rest of the crop with self propelled machines.

The Chilean orchards are planted on rolling hills and as far up the slopes as are manageable to harvest, but the harvesting equipment they use is built for flat lands. This year they purchased additional harvesting equipment that will allow for better harvesting on their hilly terrain. >

The drying facility is in San Sebastian. The fresh hazelnuts are carried through elevators to an aspirator to blow off the twigs, dirt, leaves and debris. The nuts are then carried to a washer where the nuts are cleaned. From there the nuts are carried to the drying bins where the moisture is reduced to prevent spoilage. Inside the drying cylinders augers move the nuts upwards in continual motion to allow for even drying. It takes approximately 1.2 hours to remove 1 degree of humidity.

Once the nuts have reached the desired moisture level they are carried out of the drying silos and weighed into 1 ton bags. They currently have 12 silos that can dry 60 tonnes per day. We saw the construction of the second phase of an additional 13 silos that can hold 15 tonnes each. In addition to this expansion AgriChile is currently building a new drying facility in the south so they don't have to truck the nuts to the north for drying.

I have to admit two of my favourite memories of Chile are seeing 800,000 potted hazelnut trees in their nursery ready to be planted, and to be able to look over the landscape and see thousands of acres of beautiful, productive hazelnut orchards.

This Chilean experience was enriched by the willingness of the Ferrero team to share openly with us their nursery practices; planting lessons failures and successes, best practices for orchard management, as well as their post harvesting management. Their open candid sharing of mformation allowed us to better assist the Ontario growers with developing hazelnut orchards here.

Thousands of Acres of Hazelnut Orchards   Eugenio, Camillo, Linda, Vince and Rob

AGM Motions

Motion 1: Moved by Ernie Grimo that we move the SONG Annual Meeting along with the election of officers to the March meeting. This will also require a change in the constitution to address this motion. Seconded: Bruce Thurston motion passed

Motion 2: Moved that the summer meeting become an optional or special event meeting. Seconded: Bruce Thurston motion passed

Discussion: Our March meeting is our best attended meeting and our summer meeting is our poorest. Our last summer meeting had fewer than 4 voting members in attendance including myself. Each of the last 4 or more summer meeting have been poorly attended. It is not a good situation to leave the election of officers in the hands of so few people.
Respectfully submitted
Ernie Grimo, President, SONG

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