Trimming the tree has a whole different meaning here in the heart of Oregon hazelnut country that surrounds us at Rogue Farms.
It has nothing to do with ornaments, lights or popcorn strung around a Christmas tree. For hazelnut growers, like our neighbors at Kirk Family Filberts, it’s seriously hard work that’s essential for a bountiful harvest next fall.
Pruned branches are lined up on the orchard floor to make clean up easier.
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Waiting for a hazelnut harvest is all about patience.
The nuts began falling from the trees nearly a month ago. But we have to wait until there’s enough nuts on the orchard floor before the harvest can begin. The timing is entirely in the hands of Mother Nature.
This week Mother Nature said, “Let’s go.”
Hazelnuts begin falling in early September as the nights get cool and the winds grow stronger.
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Mother Nature was busy making up for lost time in March. We got seven inches of rain at Rogue Farms during the month, about 45% more than normal.
But considering that 2013 was one of the driest years on record – a little extra rain is exactly what we need.
February was wet. March was wet. April is starting off wet. We were just about ready to give up on spring when we saw the first leaves of the season on our neighbor’s hazelnut trees.
The hazelnut orchards next door to Rogue Farms at Kirk Family Filberts.
As agri-fermenters who grow a proprietary palate of flavors for our craft beverages, we’re always noticing how little changes add up to big ones. Our hop bines in Independence are almost a foot tall. The honeybees are leaving the hives earlier in the day and spend more time foraging. At Rogue Farms in Tygh Valley, the first blossoms are just starting to come out on our cherries, apples, peaches and plums. Soon the hops will be ready for stringing, staking and training; the hives will be buzzing; and the orchards will be bursting with color.
A Rogue Farms Honeybee collecting nectar and pollen from a daffodil.
Spring will get here, someday. We just have to be patient and trust that Mother Nature knows what’s best.
In the meantime, we’re still cleaning up from winter.
Pumping water from a flooded field in the hazelnut orchard.
Six months from now, the orchard floor will be dry and the nuts will be falling from the trees. We’ll grab some of the nuts from this year’s harvest and truck them to the Rogue Brewery and Distillery in Newport where will roast them and then infuse them into Rogue Spirits Hazelnut Spice Rum.
Growing beer and spirits from bottom land to bottle isn’t always pretty, but you can taste the difference in every Rogue Farms craft beverage.
Please join us this spring for another season of Growing The Revolution!
The noises coming out of the hazelnut orchard told us something was up. As we walked over to investigate, we realized what we were hearing was the sound of hazelnuts falling to the orchard floor.
Of all the crops we grow, hazelnuts are unique. If we want to know when our hops are ready to pick, we break open the cones, sniff them and run dry matter tests. For our malting barley we bite into the kernels and test for moisture. But when our hazelnuts are ripe they drop from the trees.
Mother Nature was telling it was time to begin the Rogue Farms hazelnut harvest. A new journey from ground to glass.