We have one more crop to harvest here at Kirsch Family Farms. Hazelnuts. I get asked a lot of questions about hazelnuts when I tell people that we grow them on our farm. I usually can figure that I will get three common questions.
1. Where do hazelnuts grow?
2. How do you get them out of the trees?
3. Where do all the hazelnuts go?
So here are a few answers for you….
1. Hazelnuts grow on trees in orchards. Many times you will hear me and many other farmers refer to them as filberts, but don’t be too confused hazelnuts and filberts are the same thing. The closest thing I’ve heard to a reasoning for the double name is that the tree is a filbert tree, but the nut is a hazelnut. Don’t ask me why it has to be so confusing, it’s just the way it is. The trees can live for an extremely long time so you will see all sorts of sizes of trees. Right now in Oregon there is a big boom of planting going on, so most commonly people will see baby trees being planted versus older orchards.
2. The hazelnuts or filberts fall out of the tree naturally when they are ripe and ready for harvest. Usually we have to count on a storm or two to blow them down and get the last bit of crop out of the trees. Last week for instance we had a HUGE rain, it knocked a lot of nuts down. But it’s still a bit early for a lot of the crop, so not everything is down yet. In a few weeks I would guess we will get excited and get out there to pick up our crop. I will post lost of pictures about this process but until then you can check out when I wrote last year on how we harvest.
3. Majority of our hazelnuts are exported, mainly to China. They love them over there as a snack food. Actually just like we eat pistachios, after they have been salted and cracked, that’s how the Chinese like to enjoy Oregon hazelnuts! The US market is also growing and growing as hazelnuts are found to be a very healthy snack food item. Plus they are great in many different kinds of recipes from desserts to main dishes!
This is also an exciting year since we are harvesting our baby filbert trees for the first time! After 4 years of watching them grow and grow we finally get to see some production off of these little guys! Hopefully we will have some good news to report soon!