Winter in the Orchards

Kangaroo Pruning

Winter is a time when many of us slow down and keep cover, but hazelnut growers know all too well that there is always work to be done. The frantic pace of fall harvest has subsided and the last of the leaves have dropped, exposing bare trees for growers to gauge the health and growth of their orchards.

Grower James McDonald of Inchinnan Farm in Wilsonville, Oregon is no stranger to the wintertime work that hazelnut orchards require. “This is the time of year to prune healthy limbs in order to stimulate new growth. For a year or two, pruning will decrease our production, but after that, the trimmed limbs will produce many more nuts than if they were left alone,” he explains. “Racing against Mother Nature, there’s a small window of opportunity between December and March to get into our orchards and prune before the heavy spring rain comes and the leaves cover the canopy, making it hard to see inside.”

Inchinnan Farm was purchased by James’s grandfather and a hazelnut orchard was planted by his father in the 1970s. James is a second-generation hazelnut farmer and grows three main varieties of hazelnut trees: Barcelona, Willamette, and Jefferson. Most recently, a new hazelnut variety named McDonald was released in memory of James’s father, Peter McDonald. The McDonalds have been instrumental in the Oregon hazelnut industry, a tight-knit community of growers.

Aside from growing hazelnuts and a few other crops, James keeps a portion of his property out of production for conservation and wildlife habitat.

As growers prune and trim this winter, the trees are readied for new growth and nut production come spring. Next, we look forward the buds and blooms that warmer weather brings.

Studies Reveal Tree Nuts Reduce Risk of Pancreatic Cancer, Lower Risk of Death

hazelnut_bowlIs your go-to afternoon snack a handful of nuts? Good news! In two separate new studies, frequent nut consumption was found to significantly reduce risks of pancreatic cancer in women and reduce the risk of dying from heart disease.

Published in the British Journal of Cancer, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School found an association between nut consumption and decreased risk of pancreatic cancer in women. Eating a one-ounce serving of nuts at least twice a week was associated with a lower risk of pancreatic cancer. Find more information here.

Weeks later, reported by the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that people who ate nuts everyday enjoyed a 20 percent lower death rate after four years than individuals who did not eat nuts. Find the study here.

Next time you’re reaching for a snack, help yourself to hazelnuts or any other tree nut for a whole handful of health benefits!

Mt. Angel Hazelnut Fest & Holiday Gifting

mt. angel hazelnutAs we celebrate Oregon’s above average harvest this year, join us in Mt. Angel, OR for the second annual Hazelnut Fest on Dec. 7 & 8! In the heart of hazelnut country, the festival will include a German holiday market featuring regional arts and crafts, Oregon breweries and wineries, live music and of course, hazelnut treats. Plenty of activities for the kids, too! Find more information here.

Holiday gifting? We’ll have copies on hand of our Oregon Hazelnut Country Cookbook for $15 at the fest. Or, click here to order now!

Saturday, December 7
10am – 8pm

Sunday, December 8
10am – 5pm

$5 admission
Free for children 12 and under
All proceeds benefit Mt. Angel Chamber of Commerce

2013 Hazelnut Crop Forecast up 8 Percent

Hazelnut harvestAs we gear up for hazelnut harvest beginning later this month, a yield survey conducted by the Oregon Field Office of the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service predicts Oregon’s 2013 hazelnut production to be 40,000 tons! If achieved, this would be about an 8 percent increase from last year’s hazelnut crop of 37,000 tons and 1,500 tons more than in 2011. Read the report here, and let the countdown begin!

Hazelnut Happenings This Summer

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We joined our fellow growers at the Annual Nut Growers Society Tour on August 7th to discuss crop updates, learn about techniques in the field, and of course, eat schnecken (it’s a tradition!).

With the USA ranking as the fifth largest producer of hazelnuts in the world and Oregon growing about 99% of that crop, it’s no wonder there was a lot to talk about! This year, hazelnut harvest is expected to begin 10 to 14 days earlier than last year, allowing us to gear up for the Chinese New Year celebrations that often include hazelnuts. Our growers are expecting an above average crop, which one grower described that his trees branches are, “breaking under the pressure!”

Oregon hazelnuts are touted as high quality and consistent, just a few of the reason why hazelnut demand is increasing. In the next 10 to 20 years, China will double its consumption of nuts, requiring greater production overall. Another reason for increased hazelnut demand is due to a below average almond crop, driving consumers to consider other nut options.

We are expecting a nice crop this year and look forward to hearing about your experiences with Oregon hazelnuts! For more coverage on the growers tour, click here! Feel free to drop a line in the comments section below, would love to hear from you!