Vermont's Permaculture Institute
Tag Archives: nuts in vermont
We were honored to have our research and breeding trials featured in this Sunday’s Burlington Free Press Article:
Nut farming hard to crack in Vermont
Nut trees serve and protect.
ELMORE – Pears dropped with a distinct plunk as David Fried ambled through a varied crop of fruit and nut trees. Kiwi vines, black walnut trees, and hazelberts lined the path.
Squirrels hoard the nuts, and deer eat the drops, but Fried, 56, isn’t easily goaded. “For us it’s something we like, but for them it’s survival,” he said.
His 18 acres, once an abandoned hay field, is now an abundant Eden in Elmore. After being told only apples could grow this far north, Fried has discovered, over three decades of experimenting, what is possible for Vermont.
His Elmore Roots Nursery has sold about 50,000 fruit and nut trees since he opened for business in 1979.
These trees also protect Vermont’s changing landscape in the face of extreme weather patterns. One tree in particular, the Hazelbert, saved one farm during Tropical Storm Irene three years ago.
Vermont hazelnut trees are called Hazelberts, created by Fred Ashworth who was a fruit explorer in upstate New York in the 1800s. “He crossed a European filbert with an American hazelnut,” Fried said. “We carry on that lineage of his trees.”
A line of Hazelberts on the edge of the Lamoille River saved Willow Crossing Farm in Johnson from heavy damage during Irene and the flooding that preceded that storm. “The trees caught four feet of flotsam,” owner Keith Morris said. “Hazelberts bend and slow the water, then they bounce right back.”
Morris, 36, also owns Prospect Rock Permaculture, a landscape design and build firm that helps people plant protective infrastructure into their homesteads. Morris is on a mission to see more nut trees as shelter belts around vegetation, as wind breaks, animal fencing, and on river’s edges across the state.
Nut farming in Vermont is a frontier largely unexplored, Morris said. “We look at how we can make farms more resilient,” he said. “Nut trees and can do that.”
Fried’s certified organic nursery boasts eight different kinds of nut trees. He sells about 600 hazelnut, black walnut, pine nut, bur oak, shagbark hickory, butternut, buartnut and American chestnut annually.
Willow Crossing’s Morris started collecting nut trees in 2000, and Morris experiments with about 3,000 species now. The Hazelbert is the most exciting, he said. “There is a huge market for it,” he said. “Nutella is a great example.”
Nutella is a sweet spread made from hazelnuts that has replaced peanut butter in many homes across the nation recently.
Hazelberts produce nuts within a few years of being planted as opposed to other nut trees that generally take about 10 to 15 years to produce, Morris said.
While Nutella is a fairly new item in Vermont kitchens, the butternut pie is a long-standing tradition. “Butternut trees have a dear place in my heart, on my farm, and in the entire state for that matter,” Morris said. “Butternuts were a staple crop for most homesteads here for generations.”
Now Butternut trees are endangered. There is a fungal blight in the state. “The outlook isn’t good,” Morris said. “We are working with the state, and with some hybrid trees that are blight resistant.”
Shelburne Farms Head Market Gardener, Josh Carter, has been growing Hazleberts in Shelburne for three years. “We’re thinking our Hazleberts will start producing enough nuts to sell to the Inn next year,” he said.
The Hazleberts were planted to add interesting, non-traditional crops that fit with the farm’s educational mission. “Since we run a farm-to-table restaurant on site we diversity our market garden operation as much of possible for greatest variety in the menu,” Carter said.
Nut farming is not economically viable, Carter said. “We don’t grow many nuts around here in the Northeast,” he said.
Growing nuts is similar to growing hops for beer, Carter said. “People like the idea of growing local hops for local breweries, but there’s a lot of infrastructure involved for starting up and brewing for this refined and processed product to make it viable.”
Carter admits he doesn’t have a passion for growing nuts, in particular, but does have a passion for trying different crops and learning as he goes.
Five years from now, everyone might want Hazleberts, Carter said. “It’s always nice to be ahead of the curve,” he said. “We’re building a pool of knowledge to cash in on in the future.”
Morris said he doesn’t think Vermont will ever have a competitive advantage with nut growing, but nut trees are important to the state’s landscape. “With more growers on board, it makes sense to look into nut butters and oils,” he said. “Hazelnut oil from Europe is a very valuable high quality commodity.”
Morris is also working on a hybrid pecan and hickory tree called a hickan tree. “People say pecans won’t grow in Vermont, but they do,” he said.
It might take 15 years to see nuts grow on a hickan tree, but there will be 500 years of nut harvesting after that, with no tilling, weeding, or seeding.
“I hope my work will build a legacy, so that generations of Vermonters to come might have plenty of pecans,” Morris said.
Thank you Lynn for a great story!
Here is a link to the original article: http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/local/vermont/2014/09/06/nut-farming-hard-crack-vermont/15214289/
I will return and annotate/ correct this as there’s even more to the story!
Stay tuned for an audio file of our Nuts for the Northeast presentation at NOFA MA- we’re also looking for someone who wants to collaborate on making a simple video from the slides or who would like to edit the audio.
Thanks to everyone for coming out and sharing our event with DARREN DOHERTY! It was a great success.
Out ROOT CELLAR DESIGN BUILD WORKSHOP will be October 18-19- stay tuned for more details or email to register!
UPDATE! There will be a special screening of the FULL FILM with cast and crew members APRIL 3 at the ROXY THEATRE in Burlington, VT- Stay tuned for more details and email us for advance ticket reservations.
I know we’ve been sending out a lot of plant sale announcements lately, so we just wanted to take a minute and THANK YOU for supporting our work!
Costa successfully funded the Northeastern Permaculture Documentary in 2012
with footage taken here with Prospect Rock Permaculture at Willow Crossing Farm.
They are now fundraising for the finished product, which is looking incredible! Check it out:
We’ve put a few hundred more fruits, nuts, berries, vines in the ground this spring thanks to your support of our work!
Next week, we’ll begin design and installation for a Permaculture Plant Nursery at St. Michael’s College, while training the schools first Permaculture Design Certification Students!
I’ll be announcing a few public events if you’d like to come check out a film or speaker, meet the students, and network with some other professional growers, ecological designers, and builders.
Bare root Hybrid Hazelnuts, Black Locust, and Gooseberries are still available from the farm. A limited selection of all of our plants will be available in pots by appointment throughout the summer.
Stop by or give a call if you want to pitch in on some farm building or tree planting this spring, and otherwise I hope to be off the computer!
Peace and Trees!
The most up to date info for plant availability is HERE
This is Spring 2014 data for reference- many of these varieties (and more) will be available for pre-order and pick up in April – May 2015
CHERRIES NUT TREES CURRANTS GOOSEBERRIES SEA BERRIES PEACHES PEARS BLUEBERRIES GRAPES HARDY KIWIS NITROGEN FIXERS MAPLES CRANBERRIES HONEY BERRIES HOPS ASPARAGUS MEDICINAL HERBS
Please pre-order and read below for details.
Vermont’s oldest Permaculture Research and Education Institute is pleased to announce the details for our annual Nursery Plant Sale!
We’re excited to share some of our favorite Vermont-Proven Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Vines, and Medicinal Herbs, and the results of almost 15 years of breeding, selection and tree crops research here in Northern Vermont. Our trees are specifically selected to be valuable additions to your yard, garden, or landscape, and intended to be components of diverse
Edible Forest Gardens, Edible Landscaping, Specimen Trees, Windrows/ Hedgerows, Wildlife Corridors, Deer Yards, Riparian Buffers, Vineyards, and Productive Orchards.
We also offer some of our favorite Medicinal Herbs as Companion Plants and Understory Plantings, and a variety of
Nitrogen Fixing, Nutrient Accumulating, and Pollinator Feeding support plants.
100% of the Proceeds from this sale further Permaculture Research, Education, and Productive Reforestation for Vermont’s Fields, Farms, and Floodplains- supporting more diverse, resilient, and nourishing tree crop propagation for cold climates.
Willow Crossing Farm is working to demonstrate and spread Climate Resilient, Multi-Generational, Ecologically Regenerative, Carbon-Negative, Income Producing, Nutrient Dense, Valuable Sugar and Lumber Producing, Pollinator Supporting, Soil Building, Flood Tolerant Tree Crops for Vermont’s Farms, Yards, Gardens, and Cities.
Plants will be available for pickup Friday May 2, Saturday May 3, Friday May 9, and Saturday May 10.
Please SHARE this with your friends and networks who may be interested!
Some plants will also be available at The Farm Store in Jeffersonville, VT and larger orders are able to be delivered into Burlington.
It is strongly recommended that you Pre-Order plants, as many will sell out. Some Bare Root plants will only be available during earlier pick up dates, and some of the Medicinal Herbs may not be available until the later dates.
* Asterisks indicate experimental plants for our region- typically, these are plants that can survive Vermont winters, but may not reliably bear crops every season. Most are suited to the Champlain Valley and some of Vermont’s warmer microclimates, and will be more marginal in colder microclimates. All are bering grown here in the Lamoille River Valley of Johnson, VT.
Please ask about quantity discounts for orchards, nut groves, vineyards, and working farms.
All plants are in VERY LIMITED QUANTITIES- its best you CONTACT US if you’re coming for anything in particular.
CHERRIES (few remain):
Kristin Cherry: 1″ caliper diameter, bare root. Developed in Geneva, NY- Kristin is hardier than most Sweet Cherries, and has withstood temperatures to minus 25°F and below, and is generally considered the hardiest sweet cherry. Kristin produces abundant, large, dark burgundy fruit with flavorful, firm and juicy flesh. Best with Lapins or another sweet cherry as a pollinator. $35
*Lapins Cherry: 5/8” diameter, bare root. Very large, dark purple, delicious and self-fertile, Lapins is one of the best Cherries available. From brilliant white blossoms to the dark red fruit to beautiful foliage in fall, this tree provides multi-seaon interest. Introduced by Dr. Lapins at the Summerland Research Station in British Columbia, Canada, Lapins is a favorite with commercial growers. Lapins is also an easy to grow and very productive variety for the home gardener. On Colt rootstock- semi-dwarfing (80% of full size ~12-15′). Colt is adapted to most soils and is hardy, vigorous, productive, and forms a well-branched tree. $30
“Aurora”: 5/8″ caliper diameter, bare root. One of the best tasting pears you can grow, Aurora was developed in Geneva, NY and keeps well into December. $30
“Nijiseiki” 5/8″ caliper diamter, bare root. One of the most popular Asian Pears, Nijiseiki is a large, crisp, juicy and flavorful, yellowish-green variety. The fruit often found in markets in mesh bags, Nijiseiki ripens in late August into September. Can pollinate and be pollinated by European Pears. $30
‘Lodi’ 3/4″ caliper diamter, bare root. The “early bird” of the orchard. Be the first in your neighborhood to enjoy homemade pies, cider and applesauce. While similar to Yellow Transparent, these apples are larger and keep better. Resistant to powdery mildew. Cold-hardy. Ripens in July. A licensed vareity of Cornell University. $40
Black Walnut: 2-3′, Bare Root. A stately ornamental and the most valuable timber tree, Black Walnut grows very well- capable of growing to 100 ft. or more in height, Black Walnut’s broad spreading form is awe inspiring. For timber production, trees should be planted close together or within rings of Black Locust, Sea Berry or other N Fixers to encourage upright growth, straight trunks, and help fertilize the soil. Black Walnut nuts are rich, flavorful, and nutrient dense- high in beneficial fats, oils, and proteins. Great for fresh eating and in baked goods. Able to be tapped for syrup. These 3 year old seedlings are 4-5 ft. in height and well-rooted. $20
Shagbark Hickory: 3-4′, Bare Root. A beautiful and interesting tree, the shagbark hickory bears delicious nuts and is valuable to wildlife, serving as a summer roost for VT’s rare bats. Valuable lumber, firewood, and able to be tapped for syrup. $25
Butternut: 12’18”, Bare Root. Lamoille Valley’s native White Walnut. A beautiful specimen tree, valuable lumber, able to be tapped for syrup, and produces delicious oily nuts. This species is listed as endangered and most are succumbing to the Butternut Canker- lets plant more and select the survivors! $20
*Hardy Pecan: 2-3′, Bare Root. Created by using wild tree germplasm from the Northern-most parent plants found in Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, and Michigan. Selections are based primarily on the early ripening characteristics. Trees are surviving well in Northern VT, but may or may not be able to fully ripen their nuts. $25
*Carpathian/ English Walnut: 2-3′, Bare Root. This is the species of walnut used in commercial walnut production- high quality nuts, thin shelled, full flavored. We are propagating from zone 4 survivors. $25
*Manregion Walnut: 4’5′, Bare Root. This hardy form of English Walnut is prized for its large, easy to crack, and delicious nuts. Plant with other J. regia for cross-pollination. This is highly experimental for northern VT, and is recommend for trials in the Champlain Valley, Southern VT, MA, NH, etc. $25
Hybrid Hazels: 12-18″, Bare Root. The parents of our strain of hazelnuts come from breeding programs in Alberta, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, and upstate New York. Our breeding goals include: high yields, pest & disease resistance, suitability for low-input and certified organic conditions. Our seed is open-pollinated, and selected from the top producing plants in pollen-controlled breeding plots. Beautiful ornamentally, suitable for hedges, windbreaks, privacy screens, and living snow fence. Nuts rich in beneficial fats, proteins, and oils. $15
Jefferson Filbert: 1 gallon pots. One of the latest selections from Oregon State University, this disease-resistant european filbert bears abundant crops of very large, delicious hazelnuts. Derived from Barcelona, the main commercial variety, Jefferson is even more productive and immune to Eastern Filbert Blight. Plant with other hazels for cross-pollination. $20
Seedling American Chestnut: ~18″ Bare Root.
Xanthoceras (Yellowhorn) 3-4′ Bare Root.
Sea Berries, or Sea Buckthorn, are a promising new crop for VT. As fruit-producing Nitrogen Fixing plants, they are also excellent additions to any fruit, nut, or berry planting, literally bringing Nitrogen out of the atmosphere and making it available to plants in the soil. Bred extensively as a superfood in Russia and Germany, sea berry is increasingly being used in a variety of health foods, juices, hair products, and other supplements. Hardy to -40º.
Check out our friends and clients: The Vermont Sea Berry Company. All Varieties: $20
Leikora (F): 2-3′ Bare Root. Prized for both its fruit and its striking branches, often used in floral displays. Leikora bears abundant crops of high quality large, juicy, flavorful, bright orange berries, ripening in early Sept. and remaining on the plant even after heavy frost.