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Hardy, disease resistant nut trees from Mark Shepard.
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Are you nuts yet?


True confession: I am!

Right up front, here’s the sale: If you pre-order 100 trees between now and January 31 for pick-up in Spring 2018, you get $120 off.

That’s like getting 12 trees free.

Use the coupon code:  gonutz in the checkout to get this offer -
only until January 31, 2016!

 

BONUS for those not buying bulk - scroll all the way to the bottom to find out about the sale on single trees.

Four out of the past five years, I've been jumping through all the hoops to import thousands of premium nut trees from Wisconsin into Ontario - and I haven't even got a single nut off them yet! Curious why? Read on. 

It goes without saying that everyone loves nuts, doesn't it? Okay, maybe not if you have severe allergies - please be careful around my farm if this is you!

Nuts are a fantastic vegetarian answer to where to get healthy fats and proteins that can be grown in our northern temperate climate. They are also excellent food for both domestic and wild animals - from pigs to wild turkeys.

So, why do I have no nuts in hand yet?

Well, like all tree crops, nut trees are a bit slow to bare - though these ones are some of the fastest, since that's one of the things that Mark has been selecting his trees for over the past 20 years - more on that soon. Typically these chestnuts and hazelnuts take until about year 3 or 4 to start flowering and producing nuts. 

While every spring and fall I plant dozens of trees and shrubs, and some years hundreds, the trouble is, I moved about a year and a half ago, so had to wave good bye to most of the trees at our old place - just before they'd started to flower!

The good news is, I now have acres to plant on our farm - but the bad news is, this takes time!  Time to design where the trees will go. Time to get out there and plant them, and implement protection from various lovable varmints and creatures (more on that in a future email). 

So, why do I import nut trees from Wisconsin? Are there no good hazelnuts, nut pines, or chestnuts in Ontario? Can't we grow native varieties like American Chestnuts, American Hazels and White Pines instead? 

Wow, you're quite the interrogator! 

These are all questions I asked too. 

The answer is, yes, there are great nut trees being grown in Ontario (there is even a government supported breeding programs, in the case of hazelnuts). I sometimes buy small numbers from other nurseries in the province, since I think diversity is terrific. 

There are three main reasons I keep coming back to Mark Shepard's trees, grown from seed from his home farm near Viola, Wisconsin. 

1.
Solid Breeding Program: Mark's been selecting for the best traits for over 20 years. He goes for traits I also like, such as ability to compete with weeds and grasses without herbicides, early flowering, large nuts - and most importantly for the chestnuts and hazelnuts, strong tolerance for chestnut and hazelnut blights. 

2.
Bulk prices:  the prices we're able to offer through the nursery for bundles of 25 trees is very good, plus there's the sale we're offering for the next few weeks - that saves you even more money. (More on the sale below!)

3.
Genetic diversity - Many chestnuts and hazelnuts are clones - ie. no matter how many of them you have, they are are genetically identical. The ones from Mark are all seed stock - which means each plant is unique genetically. They have been selected at the gene pool level, not at the level of the individual. I feel there is strong resilience in having a diverse set of genetics that are working towards your goals, rather than selecting down to just one specific type. This is a potential problem with any crop, but just have a look at the concerns being raised about Cavendish bananas - the one variety grown for pretty much the entire banana industry, and it's at high risk from a number of pests at this very moment.  

So, long story short, I consider Mark Shepard a master nut breeder, as well as a stellar permaculturist who literally wrote the book on 'Restoration Agriculture', his variation on broad-acre permaculture - converting our farm fields into ecological paradises, while still growing the world's food. I trust that his nuts will be robust, and bred for the the traits I am looking for in nut trees.

As for why we're selling hybrids instead of the native north american species of these, there are unfortunately a few problems these native species are having with pests. I'll talk about this in one of the future emails in more detail.

Whether you have a small yard or have access to many acres of land, I want you to consider getting some of these awesome nut trees.

Note - there is way more specific info about these nuts further down in this email that I put together for our sale last year. When I re-read it, I felt like I was learning new things I'd forgotten since last year!

Jumbo Sale


We’re opening up sales of both bulk packs of 25 trees and single trees now with a warning - these won’t last long, and we probably can’t get more.
 
Once they’re gone, they’re gone.

This is the only the second year we’ve been able to get Mark’s famous chestnuts and nut pines into the province - and we’re the only place selling them. Mark is selling out every year, and we had to order these pretty much a full year ahead to successfully get them.

Once again, here’s the deal: If you pre-order 100 trees between now and January 31 for pick-up in Spring 2018, you get $120 off.

That’s like getting 12 trees free.

Use the coupon code:  gonutz in the checkout to get this offer -
only until January 31, 2016!

 

BONUS for those not buying bulk

This year we're adding another sale for those that don't have 'vast tracts of land' to plant full of nut trees. 


Buy 5 or more single nut trees and receive 20% off all the nut trees in your order!
The coupon code for that one is: nuttybuddy
Or read on, to learn more about these incredible nut trees!

 

Okay folks - the text below is almost exactly the same as last year. I decided to leave it in for those who are new to the mailing list, or who weren't considering nut trees last year, but are this year. So - read on if you care to. 

...

They say money doesn’t grow on trees, but nuts do - and you can sell nuts … for money.

Mark describes chestnuts and hazelnuts as the future of farming in North America. Chestnuts have a similar nutritional profile to corn, and hazels have a similar nutritional profile to soybeans. Those two crops make up the majority (along with wheat) of field cash crops in Ontario.

Imagine if you only had to plant your crop once - and it kept producing more and more every year, and all you had to do was harvest.


Imagine what a difference to the land it would make if you never had to plough a field again. So much less risk of erosion of our precious top soils. And with nut trees you get all kinds of bonus products other than the nuts themselves - wood for everything from walking sticks, to firewood, to shiitake mushroom logs.

The province of Ontario has been pushing hazelnut production in response to the needs of Ferrero Rocher, who currently import hazelnuts from Turkey to make Nutella and candy in the province. While Ferrero might not be the best market for your hazelnuts, in my opinion, it’s clear the hazelnuts are an up and coming crop in Ontario. Whether you make premium dollars by marketing them at farmer’s markets or to up-scale bakeries, or want to go organic to make good money that way - or even if you just sell them on the open non-organic market - I just looked it up on amazon, and 1kg of hazelnuts was going for $18 (that’s about $9/lb) https://www.amazon.ca/Yupik-Hazelnuts-Shell-Filberts-1Kg/dp/B00NAU7X2K/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1478205826&sr=8-2&keywords=hazelnut  - and that’s in-shell! These hazels from Mark have been selected for blight resistance and hardiness, among other things - learn more about what traits Mark selects for in the Chestnut section below.


Chestnuts


I’m really excited about these - we’ve been trying to import Mark’s chestnuts for years now, and have finally had success [note: in both 2017 and 2018]. As you may know, chestnuts are vulnerable to the Chestnut Blight, first brought to North America with European colonization. American Chestnut, which was native all over the north east, including Ontario, was decimated, and only exists in small pockets where it has somehow managed to dodge the blight, or be naturally immune to it. Chinese Chestnut, obviously native to Asia, has no problem with the blight, but is only borderline hardy in Ontario. The hybrid trees we’re selling are selected from trials over the past 20 years done by Mark himself. He planted lots of blight resistant chestnuts, let their pollen mix, and planted all the seedlings out - over and over again. His current hybrid chestnuts, which have American Chestnut, Chinese Chestnut, and no doubt chestnuts from several other regions, have been selected for the following traits:

Immune to or not negatively affected by blight

Able to survive harsh Zone 4 winters in Wisconsin

Early flowering - so you can get your harvest going as soon as possible

Suitable for organic production

Competitive with weeds - Mark uses STUN as his management style with his trees: Sheer Total Utter Neglect. In other words - these trees are from parent stock that does well with almost no human intervention other than harvest.


Korean Stone Pines


Fresh pine nuts close to home! While many pines have edible nuts (like those ones on your fancy salad, or ground up in the best quality pesto), these Korean Stone Pines have much larger nuts than what you’d find on our local conifers. What I like about them is they are great windbreak trees, that have the bonus of a high value crop.

Pine nuts are another one of those premium crops that are super expensive at the store. Imagine bringing them to a local farmer’s market, or even getting them for sale in a health food store. You could even save the work of getting the seeds to someone else - sell the cones as novelty bird feed at a farmers market or craft show. A nice little extra side-crop from space that’s usually just doing its windbreak thing. That’s what permaculturists call stacking functions!
 

Whether you’ve been thinking about this for years, or this is new to you - this is the time. I have a feeling these trees are going to pre-sell really fast.

And don't forget:

If you pre-order 100 trees between now and January 31 for pick-up in Spring 2018, you get $120 off.

That’s like getting 12 trees free.

Use the coupon code:  gonutz in the checkout to get this offer -
only until January 31, 2018!

Buy now

If you have questions or want to talk to me about your nut tree/forest garden project for advice, send me an email at readrobread@gmail.com. I’m not going to upsell you or try to sell you trees if I don’t think your project is ready - usually the best way to start a project is with a lot of observation. Even though this sale is a really good deal, it might be better for you to wait a year. I can’t guarantee we’ll have a sale this good in the future, but there’s nothing worse than getting a bunch of trees, then not having something to do with them. (Actually - I’ll write about that in a coming newsletter, and give ideas for what to do in that situation - I’ve been there!)

 

Know someone else who’s interested in nut trees? Have them sign up for this list here:

http://forestgardennursery.ca/nursery/

In future messages I’ll be getting into just how much income you can expect to make from these trees, and some ideas about the labour involved, and protecting your trees from varmints and other hazards.

 

We have lots of other cool fruit trees, shrubs, and plants coming into our inventory for spring - some for the first time - I'll announce those in the next email!

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Artemisia's Forest Garden Nursery · 9995 Ilderton Rd. RR#2 · Ilderton, On N0M2A0 · Canada

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