Posted By Jonathan on May 22, 2013
We are big fans of hazelnuts, or at least the chocolatey spread or the flavored coffee (which I know is not technically hazelnut but most likely an artificial flavoring). Either way, we knew that we wanted to add hazelnut bushes to our little homestead and sooner better than later.
So, we recently became a charter patron the Hazelnut Project run by the Arbor Day Foundation. Initially, we were going to just buy the plants they have in their tree store, but it was more cost effective to join the project. For $20 we got three hybridized ‘Arbor Day’ hazelnut plugs. Yeah, normally hybridized isn’t what we like. I think it’ll be okay, though. This is a bit about the plants we received:
“Hybrid hazelnuts from Arbor Day Farm combine the characteristics of two North American native species, American and Beaked, and the European hazel. Originally crossbred in Minnesota, these shrubs will likely produce sweet, tasty nuts in approximately 4-5 years. A yield of up to 7 pounds of nuts per bush may be expected from well established plants. 2-3 bushes to help assure cross pollination by the wind. In addition to producing nuts for your personal enjoyment or market, hazelnut shrubs have a high wildlife value providing food and nesting and hiding cover for many birds and mammals. 2-3 bushes to help assure cross pollination by the wind.”
A little about Arbor Day’s Hazelnut Project:
The basic mission for Arbor Day is to create a new age of agriculture in the U.S. that is reliant on woody perennial plants as opposed to annual crops. Woody agriculture will help feed a hungry world, provide employment, keep topsoil intact and waterways clean, and give a home to wildlife.
By joining the project you receive three hazelnut seedlings/plugs, a subscription to their newsletter, and will be required to fill out a survey at the end of each growing season.
When we received our hazelnuts the three little seedlings (looking like sticks) were warped up in a plastic bag together. We also got their ‘planter’ edition of their newsletter. It’s pretty informative. It offers information on care before planting, choosing the planting sight, how to plant the seedlings, after care, a history of the hazelnut’s hybridization, and what to expect from the new hazelnut plants.
All in all, it’s an okay deal. I don’t mind filling out a quick survey if I’m going to get some plants for a better price. My assumption is that the survey is simply about the progress of the plants they sent you. I’ll let you know what it REALLY is when the time comes!
Right now, two of our hazelnuts are doing well and leafing out. I think the third may have not made it through the transplanting. Makes me sad, but I can always make a cutting from one of the others when they get older. We are told that in 4-5 years we’ll start seeing nut production! Good things come to those who are patient, right?
As for the nuts themselves, they are quite nutritious and have a variance of uses. The nuts are high in protein, great source of vitamin E, and vitamin B6. The oil extracted from the nuts is a good cooking oil with a long shelf life. The meal left over from the extraction can then be used as a nutritious livestock feed. Hazels can also be found in confections, paints, soaps, and lubricants. A might fine nut plant if I do say so myself!
Would you consider raising hazelnut bushes? Do you have any growing wild on your property?