So begins another growing season, our 23rd! To the right is a picture of the trees when they were about 3 years old, interspersed with little Christmas trees. Now most of the pines are gone and we are having to thin out the chestnuts. After caring for a tree for 20 years, it is hard to cut it down, physically and mentally! We keep records on nut production, size, and other characteristics to make the thinning decisions.
Thinning, adding a porch to the shed, and general orchard and equipment maintenance will keep us busy until harvest. So far it has been a very hot and dry June but the trees are in full bloom and look great. We will let you know when the harvest starts and when we will open the chestnut store.
If you wish to be part of the harvest or just hear more about it, please let us know on the "harvest help wanted" tab.
The task at hand
The loss of America's chestnuts to an introduced blight was the ecological disaster of the 20th century. We cannot soon restore the wild chestnut forests but with farm-grown trees we can now restore chestnuts to the American dinner table.
Our chestnut tree farm in Kansas is outside the native range of chestnuts. As a result, we are spared some of the usual pests, such as weevils, that infest chestnuts in eastern states. On the other hand, our climate is harsh and our soils are more alkaline--nobody knows which chestnut trees will prosper in the long run. We grow and observe trees from different seed sources and many different grafted cultivars--every chestnut tree has an identity and a record. We remove inferior and bad-tasting chestnuts as we find them. Our Chinese species and Chinese hybrid trees prosper the best and produce good chestnuts. We are always on the lookout for the exceptional tree that may become the go-to cultivar for the next generation plantation.
Our customers, by their enthusiam for American-grown organic chestnuts, are participating in the restoration of a near-lost food culture. It is our hope that once again there will be tens of thousands of acres of chestnut trees across our continent saving soil, sequestering carbon, cooling the earth, and feeding our children's children. Thank you, chestnut lovers, for your encouragement.
Contact us if you wish to receive an e-mail when chestnuts are available or when the pick your own harvest is ready.
We are proud members of the Chestnut Growers of America