Currently BOTH Hazels and Chestnuts are SOLD OUT. However, please send in your orders now for next season, as we expect to sell out again. Nuts will be available again later in the fall and early winter.
Also, for those interested, the Association for Temperate Agroforestry is holding part of their annual meeting at Badgersett Farm on the 20th of July. For more information and to sign up visit the CINRAM home page
Note From Perry - 6-7-02:
Hello there- This note comes a little late as I have been in Brisbane this week and away from the internet, but here are a few points that need to be made.
Hazels are currently SOLD OUT. However, they have not been shipped yet, due to the late and cold spring. They are expected to ship next week. Chestnuts have NOT sold out, but they are also being shipped late because of the spring.
I'm starting my finals in Australia next week- wish me luck.
Note From Perry 1-24-02
This note is to let you all know that, despite the lack in updates, there is still someone paying attention to this site. You may notice that the links to the catalog and the order form now say "current." This is to avoid confusion on the dates previously listed. Unless otherwise stated, the catalog and order form on this website will always be honored.
Hopefully there will be a full sized update coming along soon, but Philip has been busy writing the Hazelnut Handbook, which will be finished by the end of January. I will be leaving in early February for the spring semester of my junior year in college. This semester is my semester abroad, for which I will be studying at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia. I will continue to be the webmaster, so feel free to send comments to me about the site.
That's all for now. Thanks for your patience-
P.S.: New: a Quicktime movie (11.4 MB) of a drive down two hazel rows. The rows shown were planted fifteen feet apart, and are fully mature. Variation in height is from the variation in the genetics of the plants. Also, some plants have been cut back, while their neighbors have not.
FIELD DAY COMING FAST- SATURDAY, AUGUST 18TH!
Our regular Field Day is scheduled for Sat., August 18; Sunday in case of heavy rain (a little light rain won't stop us).
We'll have plants for sale, and PLENTY to see- the oldest hazels we have, some 20 years old, are mostly recovered from the disastrous soil pH we subjected them to, and from being cut down 3 years ago- many of them have spectacular crops on, with simultaneous spectacular vegetative health.
There are also the new clones to see, and both hazels and chestnuts in all stages of establishment.
Take a look at our road map to see how
to get here. Tours start at 10 AM, and will run every half hour until 4
PM; Question & Answer session at 2.
AVAILABILITY OF PLANTS- STILL GOOD
We still have a good supply of most classes of hazels, though selects are nearly sold out; for the chestnuts, we basically still have everything available, selects included (a big chestnut tree simply produces more seeds than a big hazel bush; so the basic supply is better.)
HUGE NEWS ON THE HAZEL CLONES!
To our surprise, we've had several critical questions about the nature of the tissue culture hazels developed by Mehmet Nuri Nas and Paul Read answered already; in the second year of their growth.
Question #1- will these clones sprout normally if cut back; ie. do they have a normal root crown? Sometimes, tissue cultured plants do NOT.
Answer: Unequivocally; YES they will, YES, they do. Upon examination of the outplanted clones this Spring, as soon as the snow melted, we discovered more than 50% of the G-029-N-CL plants with one or more new sprouts reinforcing the original stem. Also, on receiving the second batch of clones this spring, we found several of the larger ones, "born" in November and placed in larger pots, were sprouting vigorously by May. Not, one; not a few; but MANY of these clones are vigorously developing new shoots from the crown.
Question #2- How soon will these clones bear? Most of our hazels now in tissue culture were started from mature, bearing plants. Has the tissue retained the "maturity" necessary to have them set nuts?
Answer: They are physiologically mature, and can bear as soon as they have the resources; if well cared for, in their second year of growth. One E-295-S-CL, out of the test tube in November, 2000, has set normal male catkins NOW, essentially in its first year of existence. This is them:
Another point, not something we specifically wondered about clones, but have been trying to figure out for some time, is where the basic limits are for how fast these plants can grow. We've never seen any of our hazels grow as fast as these clones, being cared for by the professionals at the University of Nebraska. This is Perry; with an SO-S'-182-CL, "born" in November, 2000. Perry's 6'2". On your right is a G-29-N-CL that has been entirely cut down, and is re-growing. On the left of the ji-normous one is the clone now bearing catkins.
Come see for yourself on the Field Day!
Mini Update, 10/9/00
Until recently, there was a section on this page saying that we are sold out of nuts to eat. That information was out of date. Nuts will be available for shipping soon, and we are currently taking orders. Sorry for the confusion.
10/27/00-Article from AURI: "Agriculture gone nuts"
Why Do We Sell "Old Fashioned" Chestnuts?
We are, in fact, pretty much the only place you can buy the "Old Fashioned" type of chestnut. They aren't pure American chestnuts, of course, but hybrids that have much the same size and flavor. We have lots of repeat customers. By the standards of the world chestnut market, they're small, no doubt about it. It's not that we can't grow big nuts here in Minnesota- we can, and do.
Nuts have an ancient magic to them, a primal appeal to our most basic instincts. They are little tough packages, filled with the stuff of life. Life in several senses; the life of a young seedling, and the life of food for us and the other creatures of the world. Excellent food for ourselves, and portable, non-perishable food for our tribe, our children.
Just as a fire in the fireplace draws our eyes and dreams, probably because for most of our past fire meant life and survival for our ancestors, nuts fascinate the basic hunter-gatherer in us all. Children can't resist picking them up; hoarding them. As adults we learn to let acorns lie, knowing they are bitter, but the nut bowl and nutcracker still tempt the primeval in us all.
One of the consequences of this instinctive attraction is the automatic inclination to reach for... the biggest one. We all do it. We can guess at a reason- old hunter-gatherers, and before them the primates, were always gathering food with the great likelihood that something would interrupt the work; the sudden appearance of a leopard, say, or just the bully from the next campfire, who will steal our food if she can. Under those circumstances it makes perfect sense to grab the big ones first; there's probably more food there.
Though these reasons are long gone, the preference to take the biggest one remains, "hard-wired", I'm convinced, in our primate brain. We know that the smaller ones may taste better, and it's very unlikely a leopard will show up in our living room (I'll omit comments about the bully). But if we leave our brains on auto-pilot, our hands will still head straight for the biggest nut in the bowl.
So why do we offer the "Old Fashioned" (small) chestnuts? Why not just go with the flow and give the old hindbrain (and the alleged market) what it wants? Flavor is one answer; though some large chestnuts do have good flavor, there is some truth to the general expectation that huge nuts can be very bland, and small ones more savory.
Sharing chestnuts at the holidays, by the open fire or the microwave, is in fact a ritual literally more ancient than the fire itself.
But chestnuts are serious food; a couple big ones will fill you right up- and then the family will wander off, the sharing done, the moment over. The smaller, sweeter nuts can keep the sharing alive much longer.
Look at it this way: would you rather open one big present, or several smaller ones?
There are several problems with growing chestnuts in genuinely cold areas; some related to the tree, some related to the nuts.
Here in Zone 4, many kinds of chestnut trees, including those touted as "cold hardy", of all species, are frequently NOT. Many of them will freeze branches and shoots back 2 or 3 feet, every winter; and die to the ground in a "test" winter (we eliminate these from our breeding quickly). Other kinds of damage are common, too; "frost cracks" on the southwest side of the trunk, often happen on sunny February days- when a cloud suddenly goes over the sun, and the trunk temperature drops from +50°F to -20°F in a matter of minutes. Then fungi of a dozen kinds can invade.
We do have genetic strains which are far hardier than most, surviving -40°F and bearing nuts the following year- but more breeding remains to be done to make them truly reliable.
There are also problems at harvest time, for chestnuts growing in areas with a short growing season.
Quite moderate frost, at temperatures of around 28°F, will freeze the burrs still on the trees, and inactivate the enzymes responsible for ripening and opening the burrs. Which means that you can wait a long time for the burrs to open- they may not open ever, or may open very very slowly. Trying to harvest nuts from burrs that won't open is a pain even for the backyard enthusiast. For anyone trying to produce a crop, it could be a financial disaster. Some burrs frozen this way will not only not open, they will not drop off the tree, either.
Moderate freezes (colder than "frost") will start to freeze the nuts themselves; and for nuts in the final stages of ripening, this can kill the nut. Unlike the great majority of seeds from temperate climate plants, chestnut nuts die if frozen. There is substantial variation in the cold required to kill the nut; it depends on the genetics of the plant, the size of the nut being frozen, whether it is in an open burr and exposed to the night sky or in a closed burr and insulated, and on how long it is how cold. Generally, you should start to worry when the thermometer hits 24 to 23°F. We've had nuts survive a quick dip down to 18°F, when the previous day was warm and sunny. And we've had nuts freeze and spoil when the temperature went to 22°F, after a couple days of cloudy cold and chilly winds.
Once frozen and killed, the nut will start to spoil immediately. If it has a way for microorganisms to get in, it will rot in the normal fashion, and the nut shell will turn black; easy to spot. More insidiously, many chestnuts are quite "tight", and microorganisms may not invade; in those cases, the enzymes from the burst cells of the nut will start to break the nut down. It may look pretty normal,even for weeks, even when peeled- but the taste will be anywhere from slightly off to thoroughly revolting- a nasty surprise for anyone to eat.
Floods. Fillmore County (us) Declared Federal Disaster Area.
Yes, we've been having floods. Real ones; our immediate neighbors lost cows, swept away in the water, and a building here and there. Since May 15 th, we've had 19 inches of rain; normal would be something like 5 or 6 inches. I'm able to find time to write this because it's raining right now; our NOAA weather radio has so far announced a tornado warning, severe thunderstorm warning, and flash flood warning for adjacent counties- not us, so far, today.
While neighbors' crops have often been devastated by erosion or submersion, we've escaped any damage to the hazel or chestnut crops; no erosion whatsoever. We did have 2 feet of water get into the seed storage cellar, and had to spend a couple days cleaning that up; some seed got soaked that shouldn't have been. In damages declared so far, our county (Fillmore) has received more damage than any other in Minnesota.
Slow Growing Weather
The biggest effect on us has been the day after day of cloudy, cool weather- inevitably, this causes the greenhouse production to move more slowly. Not much we can do about it. There are plenty of plants in the pipeline, but we can't ship them before they are ready. For those of you waiting for plants, please remember that these tubelings can be happily planted right through July and August- we've done it literally tens of thousands of times. They'll be ok.
Research Associate Hired
We were nearly inundated with job applicants, while being inundated with water. Thanks to the World Wide Web, we had serious, and excellent, candidates from around the world. We found ourselves in the nice, but for me uncomfortable, situation of having a dozen or more well suited applicants, but only one job to give.
In the hurry and confusion, between various kinds of floods, at least one folder of job applications was misplaced, during the process of writing to let them know we'd chosen someone else- if you applied for this job and never heard back from us, please accept our apologies, and our thanks for your interest. We were just overwhelmed.
Our new Research Associate is Mr. Joe Walton, MS; previously working for CINRAM at the University of Minnesota. He'll be here full time starting in early July.
As available space decreases on Badgersett Farm, and the existing plantings mature and come into bearing, the need for new plantings at a different site, where breeding can be more fully controlled, has become urgent. As a first step in that direction, Badgersett Research Corporation has entered into a long-term contract with Mr. Mark Shepard, of Viola, Wisconsin, to grow our hazels and chestnuts there in a variety of multi-purpose plantings. Initially, payment for Mr. Shepard's land and labor will be made in stock in Badgersett Research Corporation, freeing up working capital for other uses. Exact extent of the plantings is still to be decided, but will range between 20 and 60 acres of high density research and production plots; approximately 20 acres should be planted this year.
The beginning of this enterprise has not been easy; Mark has been hit not only with the same repeated torrential rains that we have, but also by severe hail (billiard ball size) that broke windshields and flattened plants. Upshot of the hail experience; the chestnuts got hurt, the hazels mostly just shrugged it off.
Cloning Hazels: Tissue Culture Success!
A genuine breakthrough: working in Dr. Paul Read's labs at the University of Nebraska, Mr. Mehmet Nuri Nas has succeeded in cloning a variety of our hazels via tissue culture. This is not just the "preliminary success" so often announced, but success through the entire process, from culture initiation to plants ready for the field. Other workers have had limited success in past years, but partly as the result of a specific new growing medium developed by Mr. Nas, his success has been outstanding, and far more repeatable than previous attempts. Those of you who contributed to this work; Thanks; once again; your financial contributions have been critically important in seeing the work through.
Photos: Taken by Brett Olsen
We will be planting some 160 tissue culture clones of our hazels from the University of Nebraska lab here at Badgersett in a few short weeks. This is major news, not just for us but for all hazel producers everywhere, and a more complete write up will follow here soon.
The advent of tissue culture cloning means: much greater machine harvest potential, and eventually much cheaper plants. However: full scale use of cloning requires years of testing yet, to determine which clones now available to us will really be worth while in large scale use. In addition, not all breeding strains tested have proven "clonable" by the techniques tested so far. Several genetic strains that do regularly clone more easily have been identified by Mr. Nas's work, making breeding specifically for ease of cloning possible.
Funds still needed to support this work: Full scale commercial cloning is now a matter of "dotting i's and crossing t's"; which still requires money. We could use your support once more, either via tax-deductible donations to the U of Nebraska (sent to Dr. Read) or possibly via purchase of Badgersett stock (minimum investment required; Private Placement Memorandum available in late July). Our old offer to eventually provide donors with cloned plants at cost still stands; please see the offer in Root & Branch #4. This article also provides a more thorough discussion of the importance of cloning to our developing crop.
Please remember; the offer is NOT to provide persons donating funds to
the University of Nebraska with cloned plants in exchange for their donation;
the offer is to provide one cloned plant per dollar donated at cost of production.
Not the same thing!
Hazel Husker Built!
A prototype Hazel Husker was successfully built and demonstrated by the three engineering students from Dordt College, as their senior project. The result is a thoroughly professional machine and design, that according to testing husks 90% of the nuts on the first try, at a rate of some 1.5 bushels/minute. The machine was built using hydraulic motors donated by Korvan, Inc., one of the major manufacturers of blueberry/raspberry/coffee picking machines, and tested on hazels provided by Badgersett. It runs on tractor hydraulics, and was rated at 2 horsepower. This is still a small machine by the standards of "big business", but it is a huge step up from all previous attempts, and was built intentionally as a "prototype" machine; it's designed to be adjustable and "tinkerable".
Conventional hazel growers have long believed that the enclosing husk of the American type hazel posed an insuperable barrier to commercialization; we have long contended that a machine to economically remove the husk was a straightforward engineering problem.
The machine belongs to Dordt College, and Badgersett is currently negotiating with the College to lease it for harvest and demonstration purposes. We hope and expect to be demonstrating the machine both at the National Arbor Day Foundation Field Day and at our own, the week after.
Dealing With Badgersett; The Facts of Life.
We aren't Walmart. We're a small research and development corporation, severely understaffed and overworked. We work 10 days a week, 28 hours a day, to develop these new crops and crop systems- genetics, planting, growing, pests, harvest, machines, storage, products, marketing, growers; all of it. If we don't return your phone call right away, you will understand. If you want us to just acknowledge your order, that will add another 2 hours a day... Hang in there- little by little, the "business" end of the operation will become more businesslike. But probably not this year.
ABOUT CONTACTING US:
We are very short staffed at the moment. Realistically, we get about 10 phone calls a day, from very nice people who want to learn about our plants. It is impossible to have such a phone call last less than 15 minutes. That amounts to 2.5 hours per day, right there; not including time needed to get into, and out of, other chores. We simply do not have anyone here who can do this.
In fact, being busy, we rarely have anyone near the phone; so when you call, you will always get the answering machine. We will make our best effort to deal with your concerns, but it may be days before we have the time to sit down and tackle the stacks of messages. This may depend on the weather, and what other emergencies we have on hand.
Most of your questions will have answers available somewhere here on this website; we've made the site "searchable" to help out. You can help too, in fact, by notifying our Webmaster if some basic piece of information is either missing, or hard to find; this is the kind of thing we need to fix.
Email to the Webmaster should be confined to questions or suggestions about the website; while he does try to forward other concerns to the proper people, it may take quite some time both to reach the right person, and for them to answer.
You will often get our attention, and an answer, faster with an old-fashioned letter.
We apologize for being hard to reach; it's not how we would like to do business, but until we have more staff, we are stuck with it.
Plant Orders Status:
July 1; just finished shipping a couple major orders made and paid for last November; orders made in February 2000 are mostly shipped; yours is coming!
Select varieties sold out for 2000
If you've already ordered some, you may still get them; just don't order
any more for delivery this year!
Badgersett IS Incorporated
We are now Badgersett Research Corporation. While the corporation does now exist, some work remains to make it fully functional, so we are not quite ready yet to seek investors. That time will be soon, however, so if you wish to receive further information about investing in Badgersett, please let us know, via mail or phone, and we will mail you the information when it becomes available.
PRESENT BADGERSETT STATISTICS, Spring 2000:
Because this website includes papers written as long ago as 1978, it is easy to read information about us that is seriously out of date. We've had people quote us for news media using numbers of trees here that are wildly out of whack- on the small side. We'll try to keep this area up to date, as the years go by.
Present acreage at Badgersett Farm planted to nuts: about 75.
present number of hazel plants: about 60,000.
present number of chestnut trees: about 20,000.
number of hazels bearing: about 2,000
number of chestnut trees bearing: about 3,000
number of chestnut trees rejected so far in breeding: about 6,000; 95% of1st generation; mostly for lack of cold hardiness.
number of hazel plants rejected so far: about 500; 40% of Weschcke origin
hazels, 98% of NY origin hazels, 95% of other hazels; mostly for EFB susceptibility or poor crops.
New: 5% Discount For Early Payment on Large Orders.
Standard payment procedure for plants has been: full payment with all orders of less than $1,000. For orders larger than $1,000, half payment up front with the remainder paid on delivery was/is acceptable; however, starting this year (as we slowly catch on to standard business practices and requirements) we are offering a 5% discount for orders over $1,000 that are paid in full at the time of the order, up until March 20. Sorry, but after that full price will apply, regardless of whether the payment is in full or split. Discount applies only to the price of plants, not to shipping or tax, of course.
Better for you, and better for us, as then we have the money to pay for materials and labor needed to produce your plants. Plus encouraging folks to get larger orders in early helps us get the right things planted early.