Thursday, January 28, 2010

History of the Hazelnut In the USA

The first tree planted in 1858 in Oregon's Umpqua Valley by an English sailor, Sam Strictland. The tree grew and thrived.

About twenty years later, a Frenchman, David Gernot, sent to France for seeds of the thin-shell variety. Fifty trees produced from these seeds were planted in the Willamette Valley along a fence row, as was the practice in the Old Country. There they thrived with little attention, providing food for the family and surrounding wildlife.

Around 1885 Felix Gillet, a French horticulturist, introduced the Barcelona variety. With a short growth time of only six years to commercial production and a productive life of up to forty years, Hazelnuts became a viable crop in the Pacific Northwest. The first tree planted in the Umpqua Valley of Oregon is still standing.

Barcelona variety is extensively grown today in the western United States and Canada. Oregon produces between 98 and 99 percent of the total U.S. Hazelnut crop. The cool summers, gentle winters, rainfall, and rich soil produce Hazelnuts that are prized worldwide for their large size and quality.

The shell is smooth and round, like a Roman helmet. Each shell holds a plump, sweet kernel. It is related to the Filbert. "Filbert" is thought by some historians to have originated from the Old English name, "full beard," because of the long husk that entirely covers the nut in some varieties. Others thought the name was derived from St. Philibert; August 22, the day dedicated to him, corresponds to the time, in England, of the ripening of the earliest filberts. The bushes grow wild. They sometimes form fence rows and produced tiny nuts - hazelnuts.

At different times, this nut has been called the Cobb, the Cobb Nut, the Spanish Nut, the Pontic Nut, and the Lombard.

Found all of this on

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