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Sunday in NH: Nuts and Cannabis!
March 16, 2018Posted by on
Nuts for the Northeast and Organic Cannabis-
Keith Morris at NOFA NH Sunday, March 18, 2018
106 Village Street Concord, NH 03303
Nuts for the Northeast
Since the dawn of time, nuts have been some of the most important food plants for human beings. Nut trees and shrubs offer some of the most nutrient dense foods, provide habitat, show the potential for a ‘carbon-negative’ and flood resilient agriculture, and are economically valuable for a variety of products in addition to nuts themselves.
Join with grower and international farm designer Keith Morris to explore the fascinating ecology and mythology of a few nut trees particularly suited to growing on farms and in neighborhoods throughout in the northeast. We’ll focus of hardy proven nuts, and introduce some of the breeding, trailing, and hybridizing happening at Willow Crossing Farm in Johnson, VT to select for disease resistance, organic production, high quality timber, oils, medicinal properties, and to migrate some important nuts typically grown in warmer regions. Participants will leave with a deeper understanding and appreciation of some trees commonly found in towns and hillsides, and be introduced to promising less common nuts.
Long cultivated for seed, oil, fiber, medicine, and its intoxicating effects-the cannabis plant has a fascinating history and offers tremendous agricultural potential. With various types of legalization possible in New Hampshire and surrounding us in Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Canada, we’ll explore this plant with a particular eye towards CBD (Cannabidinol) and the rapidly expanding legal recreational industry. While serving to introduce some basics to folks new to the plant and its growth, this workshop will also offer valuable information to more experienced growers, exploring the present and possible future legal nuances and its potential role in regenerative agriculture on small farms, market gardens, homesteads, and with small indoor growers.
Keith Morris is the founder of Willow Crossing Farm- Vermont’s longest running Permaculture/ Agroforestry Research Site- producing fruits, nuts, eggs, herbs, nursery plants, solar power, farm dinners, educational events, kids programs, nature and yoga education with local schools, and small farm-based music festivals. Willow Crossing has been implemented entirely debt-free, and without pre-existing capital- through sweat equity and deliberate financial permaculture/ community-supported social design. Off farm, Keith helps growers and communities design appropriate infrastructure to make food systems more regenerative, resilient, and connected; and started the Permaculture Education programs at the University of Vermont, Sterling College, the Yestermorrow Design Build School, St. Mikes College, and Paul Smiths College, and with the USAID Farmer to Farmer Program.
Willow Crossing Farm is Vermont’s longest established permaculture research and education facility, and a debt-free ‘financial permaculture’ working family farm. We host one of the most diverse collections of tree crops in the northeast, offer farm-based dining and educational opportunities to the local communities, and host annual events that attract people from across the country and a surprising variety of international students. We grow a variety of fruits, nuts, berries, and vines in an organic nursery; experiment with new crops, techniques, and regenerative farm infrastructure; manage production to create wildlife refuge and pollinator sanctuary; and have been focused on developing ‘productive buffers’ to reforest floodplain and riverside banks with marketable production.
Rising Appalachia is coming back to the farm!
AND we’re hosting an affordable 1 week intensive Permaculture Action Camp!
Subscribe to our blog (just enter your email above to the right) to receive announcements about Farm Tours and to view our fruit, nut, and medicinal plant collections, view the listing for the Nursery Sale, and other related workshops and conferences.
Pruning the Forest Garden- March 31 REGISTER NOW
Hands-on in Vermont’s most diverse collection of Fruits, Nuts, Berries, and Vines!
7th Annual Grafting Workshop and Scionwood Exchange- April 7, 2018 REGISTER NOW
Learn how to make more of your favorite apples, plums, peaches, pears, and more- and go home with your own grafted fruit tree!
Our 11th Annual Farm and Wilderness Immersion PERMACULTURE DESIGN CERTIFICATION COURSE- July 17-29, 2016 REGISTER NOW
An unparalleled learning experience- with the most experienced teaching team in the northeast and beyond!
FRUIT, NUT, BERRIES, VINES, and MEDICINAL HERB PLANT SALE! Pre-orders open now, for pick up beginning April 23.
Thank you for reading and sharing with your friends and networks! Look forward to seeing you.
Keith and Family
Our Nut Research Featured in Sunday’s Free Press!
April 9, 2015Posted by on
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.
Contact Lynn Monty at LynnMonty@FreePressMedia.com and follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/VermontSongbird.
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!
Nursery Plants Pre-Orders
May 12, 2014Posted by on
The information below is from previous years- these varieties and MANY MORE are available for pre-order with plant pick ups beginning April 23 for the 2016 season.
Please add your email to the box on the right and confirm your subscription (‘Following Blog’).
We will have a large variety of select fruits, nuts, berries, and vines proven in the Lamoille Valley of Northern Vermont. At this time, we do not ship plants. Plants area available for pickup at the farm in Johnson, VT or our barn in Jeffersonville, VT starting Earth Day- April 22, 2015, and celebrating with Special Events for International Permaculture Day- May 3, 2015.
Please send an email with specific requests- especially if you are looking for wholesale/ orchard/ production/ hedgerow quantities. Plants are available in bundles of 10 of the same variety for wholesale or farm production planting pricing.
Available as Bare-Root Plants Picked up in Northern Vermont:
Apples Pears Walnuts Hazelnuts Chestnuts Hickories and Pecans Currants and other Ribes Kiwis Sea Berries and other N Fixers Strawberries Asparagus Hops Plums Cherries Peaches and Apricots Hops Medicinal Herbs and Companion Plants Grapes Schisandra Tobacco Paw Paws Honey Berries
Please see below for some examples of the varieties we had for previous seasons. We should have all (or most) of these and are looking forward to introducing several more!
We have a limited number of plants.
Black Locusts ~2′ tall potted $20. The exceptionally fast growing Nitrogen Fixing Tree has delicious edible flowers loved by bees. Its also exceptionally rot resistant and hot burning fire-wood.
Aurora Pear ~6+’ tall grafted Fruit Tree, XL pot- $50
Grafted Paw Paws ~1′ tall in deep pots. ‘Pennsylvania Golden’ and ‘NC-1’ varieties.
$25 Various Nut Trees ~2′ tall in deep and/ or large pots. Walnuts, Hazelnuts, Carpathian Walnuts, Butternuts, Buartnuts $40 each! Sugar Maples ~5+’ tall potted trees
$30 Kiwis potted, assorted varieties
$25 Siberian Pea Shrub ~2-4′ tall potted trees. Beautiful N Fixer with edible flowers and small peas often used as chicken fodder and/ or living fence. Please stay tuned and follow the blog- our availability and pre-orders for spring 2015 will be announced soon!
(for reference only- most of these plants will be available for similar prices Spring 2015)
Hey All! Thanks everyone for your support of our most successful plant sale to date! By last count we’ve helped place several hundred fruits, nuts, berries, vines, and other useful plants throughout the northeast just this spring! All plants are available for pickup ASAP in Jeffersonville, VT or at Willow Crossing Farm by appointment, unless otherwise noted. All trees are potted in organic compost potting mix. For the best prices on trees, please subscribe for details about our late April / early May Bare Root Plant Sales. We still have nice, well branched PIXWELL GOOSEBERRIES $20/ plant- make a small deliciously fruiting, mildly thorny hedge around your garden to keep the critters back! SIBERIAN PEA SHRUB- One of our favorite Nitrogen Fixers, this plant feeds bees, has delicious edible flowers (for people), and its small edible peas are traditionally grown as a chicken feed. $20/ Plant CONSTORT BLACK CURRANT- widely adaptable, shade-fruiting, delicious- White Pine Blister Rust immune- yum! $20/ Plant HYBRID HAZELS- One of our favorites for a future crop in VT, now well into production here at Willow Crossing, these multi-stemmed trees will begin to bear nuts in as little as 3 years from planting. They also make nice hedges, living fences, privacy screens, or snow fence. $30/ tree. (Available for Pickup this weekend by appointment). SILVER MAPLES- 3-4′ bare root trees. Stately! $15/ Plant SOLD OUT SUGAR MAPLES- 4-5′ bare root trees. The classic! $25/ Plant LODI GREEN APPLE- 3/4″ truck caliper (over 6′ tall) bare root trees- $30/ plant SOLD OUT NIJISEIKI ASIAN PEAR- 3/4″ truck diameter (~5′ plant) bare root- $30/ Plant. SOLD OUT AURORA RED BLUSHED PEAR- 3/4″ truck diameter (over 6′ tall)- $50/ Plant. ONE LEFT- BIG TREE! BLACK LOCUST- 18″- Permaculture stacking function ‘superhero’: the fastest growing, most rot resistant, hottest burning, thorny, Nitrogen Fixing, bee-supporting, edible flowers. $20/ Plant
WATERMAN BERRY FARM ERICOID MYCORRHIZA INNOCULATED MATURE BLUEBERRIES magic mushrooms for blueberry roots! MEADER, BLUE GLOD, ELLIOT $35/ Large Potted Plant CONCORD GRAPES– The classic hardy blue grape known for its vigor and disease resistance, and delicious fresh grapes, juices, wine, jams, and preserves. $20/ pot BLACK WALNUTS- 2-3′ bare root trees. $30 BUTTERNUTS- 12-18″ bare root trees- $25 *CARPATHIAN/ ENGLISH WALNUTS- 2-3′ bare root trees, $40 XANTHOCERAS- 3-4′ bare root trees, $25 SOLD OUT Still just a few potted: KIWIS, SEA BERRIES, ARONIA, ROSES, ARTICHOKES, and some VIKING ASPARAGUS! More details on the plant sale are available here. If you want something left bare root for you let us know! Thanks so much! Keith, Family, and Crew Only a few spaces remain in this summer’s Permaculture Design Certification Course, and we’re able to offer full scholarships to income eligible Vermonters and Women Farmers. Two spaces will be reserved for ‘second PDC’ students looking to deepen their practice and experience. Happy spring- get planting!
Fruit and Nut Tree Pruning Workshop- March 15
February 27, 2014Posted by on
Hands on- Fruit and Nut Tree Pruning
A day long exploration of the science and practice of ecological tree crop management for diverse yields.
Willow Crossing Farm
Sunday, MARCH 15
(Please note- new date!)
10 am – 4 pm
Join VT’s Master Horticulturalist Zach Leonard and Tree Farmer Keith Morris for a day of hands-on practice with fruit and nut tree pruning, in a diverse permaculture forest garden setting. Spend the morning in the large yurt learning the science and ecology of how trees lose limbs and ‘heal’, and explore the deep traditions of how humans beings observe and interact with this phenomenon.
We’ll synthesize a variety of pruning ideas, strategies, and techniques to help you develop your own philosophy, understanding, and confidence to go out and work with trees in your landscape in a regenerative and yielding way. After lunch and some hot cider we’ll go outside to explore one of VT’s oldest permaculture designed food forests- a reforestation of old pasture and hayfield in the floodplain of the Lamoille River. We’ll briefly tour ‘Productive Buffers’, wildlife corridors, and stop to work in zones of Plums, Apples, Peaches, Pears, Berries, Vines, Hazelnuts, Walnuts, and more- driven by the group’s interest, and discussing pruning techniques for trees both young and old.
We’ll look at and evaluate previous years of pruning decisions and ensuing consequences, and explore some natural tree injuries and healing responses, helping participants to better understand the implications of our pruning decisions over varying periods of time.
We’ll finish the day practicing with different tools to cut wood cleanly- with an eye towards maximizing production, fruit quality, ease of future maintenance, and minimizing pest and disease pressure. We’ll also set the stage for top-working, multi-variety grafting, species changes (i.e.. Peaches on Plum roots), and other forms of propagation, in preparation for our March 21 Grafting Workshop and Scionwood Exchange.
We’ll also prune mature, bearing Hazelnuts and manage black locust, walnut, butternut/ buartnut, pecans, and more for nuts, firewood, high-value lumber, succession, aesthetics, and other long-term aims.
We’ll pass around, demonstrate, and allow you to trial favorite tools, including pruners, saws, pole saws, etc.; speak to their selection and maintenance, and discuss hygienic practices to promote orchard health and reduce cross-contamination.
This workshop kicks off our series for 2015!
Please enter your email in the box on the right hand side of the page, or ‘like’ us on Facebook to get the calendar and details for our other offerings such as: fruit tree grafting (March 21), nursery plant sale, compost toilet design/ build workshop, natural beekeeping workshop, nut production, diverse understory planting, spring development for gravity fed irrigation, natural building, compost heat, season extension, earth oven construction, stone masonry, and more. Our Plum Flower Festival and Nursery Plant Sale is scheduled for May 3.
Our 2015 Permaculture Design Certification Course will be offered June 20- July 2 OR July 19- 31, and they are filling quickly.
We have full scholarships available to income-elligible Vermont State residents, and are presently fundraising for gender and diversity leadership scholarships for out of state residents- please be in touch if you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution.
Applications for our Advanced Permaculture Design / Build /Grow / Teach internship, and APDC guided portfolio development are accepted on a rolling basis.
Event is $60 suggested donation/ sliding scale, including warm or cold cider during lunch and a round of hard cider tasting (21 and over) afterwards. No one will be refused for lack of funds.
*We are looking for photographers or videographers to help document the event, or create a short educational video.*
Please pre-register, and dress to spend the day outdoors.
We’ll need your email address if you’re planning on coming because the weather will determine where we’ll have people park. Feel free to bring your *clean, sterile, and sharp* pruners and saws.
Zach Leonard is a master horticulturalist and was farm manager of Elmore Roots Nursery for over a decade. He and his family have created High Hopes Farm, a diverse, off-grid homestead, where they preserve heirloom apples, sheep, and more. He runs High Hopes Tree Care, Vermont’s most experienced orchard restoration and maintenance service specializing in Organic Management.
Keith Morris has been collecting and experimenting with rare fruit and nut trees for 14 years, and is professor of ecological design at the University of Vermont. He has worked to help create resilient, diverse, socially just, and economically viable food systems around the world since 1996. Please spread the word to potentially interested friends and networks. Thank you for your support of our work!
Keith and Crew
Willow Crossing Farm
You can view some photos from last years event and share this via social media HERE.