In case you were wondering what happened to this effort; a couple things happened. We won the vote in the Forestry and Agriculture section of this MIT competition; so we're going to be traveling to MIT Nov. 6-8 for their big Conference; we'll be featured on Thursday as one of the "winners".
Here is the short (just over 3 min) video they require of winners:
This just in from Brandon; currently in the Illinois hazel field:
Weather is excellent so we are husking/cleaning today and will be able to direct hand picking at the Illinois farm near Elizabeth today and tomorrow morning. Give me (Brandon) a ring at 507-226-7207 if you're interested!
What we're offering for the first time this year is a chance for folks interested in the hazel crop to pick hazels from, specifically, the bushes that the machine refused to pick. Nuts still retained on the bushes at this point are an excellent bet for good bushes specifically for hand-picking situations; which will be the case for many folks forever.
Come (call the phone #) we'll teach you how to pick; how to recognize a "good bush" - and you will leave with- half the nuts you picked. Eat them; sell them or plant them- your choice. And we'll use them to start splitting the genetics for hand-picked hazels and machine-picked hazels; we'll maintain both.
Updates are faster these days on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/badgersettresearch
Very quick post here, we're into urgent hand harvest TODAY; still some days before machine harvest will be sensible. (See UPDATE below, also)
Besides the hazel plants we sell, if you grow hazelnuts you got from Arbor Day, or "Wisconsin" - chances are over 90% you're actually growing Badgersett genetics; and there's something you need to know- today.
Some Badgersett hazels - DO NOT TURN BROWN WHEN RIPE. In particular, the G-029-N tissue culture clones will ripen when entirely white- then vanish as animals eat them while you wait. We've found some seedlings in all breeding lines that share this characteristic, some of which obviously took their pollen from a G-029-N somewhere.
These nuts are FULLY RIPE:
Above is life size. NOTE_ the husk are entirely green- the nuts are white (actually a very pale but genuine green color).
Quarter for scale- NOTE - all the nuts easily come cleanly out of their husks, "abcision" is complete, the nuts are no longer taking resources from the plant.
And yes; these nuts are completely "filled", big enough for any commercial market, and with near zero pellicle fiber.
At the recent meeting of the New York Nut Growers, the Zarnowski's G-029-N clones were possibly the best looking plants there. Our own have looked pretty ratty all year, but that has not prevented them from bearing a very good crop.
CHECK YOUR PLANTS FOR RIPENESS DAILY starting NOW. They are ripening extremely rapidly this year, the fastest I've ever seen them do it. Hot days make it faster yet.
PICK QUICKLY- before the mice and birds catch on that they're ripe. At the moment- the bluejays have not discovered that the fields have lots of ripe nuts YET - this is the pattern every year. There is a "lull" in pest pressure at the beginning- but pest theft accelerates as the season progresses.
One of your best deterrents for bluejays and crows is simply human presence in the field. They'll avoid you. We tend to split our picking teams up for this very reason; it slows the thieves down.
Off to the field to pick, fast. We have around 50 of these tissue culture clones in production; and hundreds of seedlings from this breeding direction. Many of the seedlings are not ripe- yet. But it will happen fast- keep your eyes peeled.
We have this particular clone planted in 5 different micro-climates here on Badgersett- specifically so we can measure differences. Checking one of the more remote this morning- we were struck by how much smaller the crop was... until it occurred to me to check for missing nuts.
You can SEE where nuts- and nut clusters - were, if you're trained, and you look. In the current case- after counting the "empty stubs" - I'm guessing at least 50% of this outer planting - HAS ALREADY BEEN STOLEN. They're gone- particularly the clusters, most nuts remaining are singletons. This is a pattern we associate with CROWS. Who are crazy smart- in case you haven't been keeping up with current research; it's now accepted by peer reviewed science that: crows are as smart as great apes; they remember YOUR face, from year to year, live for decades, and teach their young how to avoid you, and how to find food. Give it a google.
IF Blogger is cooperating, this photo can show you 3 places where hazels, or hazel clusters, grew very recently- and were picked before I got there. They typically leave a blunt clean scar at the tip of a twig- look, and you'll learn. Pick a few, and look at what's left. Then look before you pick...
Theft is already ahead of us- and it accelerates with the season. I still don't see or hear jays- but the crows have learned to avoid us entirely, and steal as fast as they can. Be aware!
Managed to stop in on my way back from the New York Nut Growers summer meeting; and was truly delighted to find the substantial research and demonstration planting of Badgersett hazel germplasm just outside the Oberlin Lewis Center for Environmental Studies - more than thriving. Please note- these plants were installed only 2.5 years ago; all as standard tubelings, with about 8 clonal divisions for reference plants, including the G-029-N tissue culture clone.
To my additional delight, they're running a chicken tractor in the hazels, with about 15 Lace Wyandottes providing a little nitrogen and soil service. The folks here, left to right, are Griff Radulsksi, Sean Hayes (Lewis Center Manager), and John Bergen.
These plants were tubelings- just 2 and a half years ago. The tallest stems here have put on about 4 feet of new growth- so far- this year; Sean is 6 feet tall +. Many of the tubelings are putting on catkins for next year, now; usually an indication that there will be substantial nut bearing next year. There are even a few nuts this year on the clones.
How did they grow these so fast?? This is, in fact, as fast as we've ever seen these hazels grow; probably the fastest, period (terrific job, Oberlin!). This plot is used as a teaching research plot, and has been managed as a randomized fertilization demonstration/experiment; with 3 levels of fertility. Oberlin students will be measuring and doing statistics on them in the coming school year. A really big part of "how" - is very simple. They followed instructions, without adding random sorts of unapproved "improvements". :-)
This is one line of the Oberlin hazel tubelings; July 14, 2011.
Another reason for you to come to Badgersett this Saturday for the Field Day- we just planted about 3 acres of hazel tubelings- 3 weeks ago. They look awfully small- but they're on their way.
We have a whole lot of directions we work on with the hazels; including "big nuts", "really thin shells" and "great flavor" - oh, and "a crop, that ripens no matter what". Here, for example is one of our research plants - fully ripe now, although so many hazels are ripening very late this year:
It doesn't look that impressive- until you crack it- and it's pretty nearly all kernel...
Don't forget! This Saturday is Field Day. Tons to see, although most hazels are not ripe. And; be aware, starting this year, we're having TWO Field Days; 3rd Sat in August for hazels, and now last Sat in Sept, for chestnuts and hickory/pecans. Come to both is you can!