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, because they want very specific named varieties that don’t do well with Ontario winters, 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 $20 (that’s about $10/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.
I’m really excited about these - we’ve been trying to import Mark’s hazelnuts for years now, and have finally had success. 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 December 31 for pick-up in Spring 2017, 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 December 31, 2016!
If you have questions or want to talk to me about your nut tree/forest garden project for advice, send me an email at email@example.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:
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.