Experiment with growing, harvesting, milling, and marketing hazelnuts to determine feasibility of local industry.
2013 - Michelle Pridgen, director of the Independence Farmers Market, tested the yield, processing, and the market for hybrid hazelnuts in our region. Six pounds from the 2013 harvest were sold to in shell to New River Organic Growers (NROG) at $4.99/lb minus a 25% fee. NROG estimated that they would have a market for at least 100 pounds of hazelnuts. Four pounds from the 2013 harvest were sold on the Independence Farmers Market online winter market for $14/lb.
The 2013 harvest was shelled using a commercial scale nut sheller outside off Asheville, NC. We estimated a one third yield from unshelled to shelled nuts, but believe there were issues with our collection methods and that the conversion in actuality is much greater. For the 2014 nut shelling we will bring a more accurate scale and implement a grading system so that nuts are shelled by size reducing the amount of cracked nut meats.
2014 - The harvest yield was measured in 2014 with the help from a number of volunteers. We randomly sampled to choose which shrubs to harvest and collected all the nuts from those shrubs. Michelle collected data on the weight and characteristics of the nuts. The total harvest was 31.5 pounds and one particular hazelnut shrub was identified for propagation. Proceeds of sales from the 2014 harvest will go to the Independence Farmers Market.
- http://www.badgersett.com: Badgersett Research Corporation: Hybrid hazelnut information, research, breeding, and supply.