The chestnuts are growing. We've had good rains this summer so far and are looking forward to a big harvest. Sign up below to be notified when the chestnuts are available to order.
What do you do all summer when the chestnuts are developing??
We are asked that question a lot and honestly, when we started the orchard I thought "Plant the trees, mow a little, pick up the nuts. How hard could that be?".
Right now, in early July, Charlie is tending the grafts. We track the qualities of each tree (almost 1500!) and graft those that produce small or otherwise inferior nuts. After almost 20 years, we don't have a lot of grafting to do, but still that takes time. With the age and size of the trees the bigger issue is pruning and thinning, which we have been doing all spring and summer. We don't mow until all the ground nesting and fledging birds have a chance to get out of the way, so we are just starting the mowing routine.
And we are getting ready for the harvest. Cleaning and clearing out the sheds, working on the harvest carts, fixing up the collection bins and working on ways to make it easier for us and our help.
Speaking of help, see "chestnut harvest" tab to sign up to help us gather the nuts!
Our harvest help
We are lucky to be close to Lawrence and have a great harvest crew. About 50 people from our community; students, families, folks interested in agriculture and many others, come out to hand harvest with us. This year a couple of Scout troops are gathering chestnuts as a fund raiser. We'd like to thank all of our helpers. Because of their consistency we are able to harvest daily, rain or shine, and get the nuts into the ideal conditions of our cooler within a day of falling.
We appreciate your encouragement and hope that you will support tree crops, the soil-conserving permanent agriculture.
Contact us if you wish to receive an e-mail when chestnuts are available or when the pick your own harvest is ready.
Charlie started planting chestnut
trees in 1995 on old farm ground north of Lawrence, Kansas. Following
organic practices from the start, the orchard has been
certified organic annually since 1998.
Growing up around wild black walnut trees in eastern Kansas, and being inspired by the visionary economist J. Russell Smith, author of Tree Crops, a Permanent Agriculture, Charlie has always been driven to plant trees that produce food. Whether talking about erosion, water quality, dead zones or global warming, trees are part of the solution. "The more we learn about modern petrochemical-based agriculture,
the more convinced am I that tree crops offer a lifesaving, sustainable
path to the future."
Since cancer rates began to increase in the 1950s and '60's,
and pesticides and other synthetic farm chemicals showed up in ground
water and were implicated in the the poor health of farmers, it has
been Charlie's bedrock conviction that we would farm organically or not at
all. Chestnut Charlie's is certified organic by Midwest Organic Services Association (MOSA).
We are proud members of the Chestnut Growers of America