Monday, November 23, 2015

Sorry - Can't Ship Chestnuts For Thanksgiving-

I'm working on getting this news out to all who need it- Badgersett will NOT be shipping orders of chestnuts in time for Thanksgiving; something that has not happened before.

We WILL be shipping in time for Christmas.  The story ends well, so hang in there; and keep these in mind!

Our chestnut harvest this year was the largest we've had for years; thanks to our (now permanent) incorporation of both sheep and horses into our chestnut production.

With the grass mowed, and brush cleared- the ground prepared by grazing made it possible to harvest the crop - not spend hours searching for nuts in meadows and thickets. It works; and after 5 years of experimentation with exactly how, we now know this is the direction we will stick with.

(We refuse to use either herbicides or tillage in our woody crops; a chestnut planting with naked soil between the rows seems to us to be no improvement on "corn and beans", from any standpoint.)

So we ended chestnut harvest in October, with some thousands of pounds precisely stored away in our root cellar; using the special techniques we've developed over decades that result in "the best chestnuts in North America."

That was 2003, however (we used big mowing machines for grass; and a lot of time and diesel fuel).  And here in 2015 we've run head on into a changed climate.

We can no longer cool our root cellar by opening it to the frosty night air.  This past October was the warmest on record for the entire world; and here it has meant the cellar has averaged nearly 15°F warmer than the averages from 1990 to 2000, when we were "establishing practices."  An average temperature over 50°F does not allow chestnuts to develop either the sweetness or the depth of flavor we demand, and that our old customers come back to us for.

The nuts are simply not ready to ship - if you ate them now, you would never understand what a truly good chestnut is like.  So we will not ship them.

But!! Just in the past week, we've had a turn in the weather so that the cellared nuts are now, finally, making progress towards being worth eating; we now know they will become wonderful in time for your Holiday meals; and we'll start shipping as soon as we can.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Fall Open House - What To Bring-

Folks who are intending to come to our Fall Open House tomorrow, Sat. Oc. 17, will want to be a bit prepared.  For one thing, the temperature when we open at 10 AM is currently forecast to be around 28°F; a considerable change from even yesterday.

Dress warm!  But it may also warm up fast with clear skies and strong sun.

Depending on how long the temperatures are below 28° overnight, it is possible that chestnuts on the trees may be actually frozen tomorrow morning.  They become inedible almost immediately in that case, and any green burrs will not longer open.  But- nuts already on the ground are at near 0 risk of freezing; the ground is still very warm.

Less obviously; you need to be sure your group have shoes on that will withstand walking in layers of chestnut burrs-

Those spines are sharper than needles, literally, and easily penetrate fabric shoes.  It's possible to wear fabric among burrs, but it requires constant care.

Likewise, if you and your family want to take us up on our offer of a FREE gallon of chestnuts; you will definitely want to be prepared with strong leather gloves, to nudge the burrs out of your way.  It would be a good idea if you could bring something like a gallon icecream bucket; our supply there is small.

It's shaping up to be a lovely October day - please join us!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Open House, Oct. 17!!

PRESS RELEASE: For Immediate Release; 10/8/15

New Minnesota Crops: Chestnuts?? And Pecans!!??  Come See: Oct. 17

Badgersett Farm, in Fillmore County is showcasing both crops at their Open House Saturday, Oct. 17.  “We’ve been growing chestnuts here for nearly 40 years; but a couple of things fell into place this year that let us seriously recommend other farmers in Minnesota consider them as a crop.  And the “pecans” - are actually “hickory-pecans”; hybrids of pecan and two hickory species.  Some of them taste like pecans; and some taste like hickories - but they all - will grow and bear crops in at least the southern half of Minnesota.” says Philip Rutter, founder and chief scientist at Badgersett.
They'll be showing them off at their upcoming Open House, Saturday Oct. 17, at  Badgersett Farm., from 10 AM to 6 PM.
“We’ll feature both crops; but - the chestnut crop is so abundant this year - we are inviting the public to bring their families and pick up the chestnuts for your Holiday stuffing — for FREE!  The first gallon, that is!  And just during the Open House.  That’s way more than most folks ever use in any case.  If folks want to pick up more then one gallon, we will have to charge for it- but a lot less than if we have to pick them up for you!” says Rutter.  “We can’t give away the hickory-pecans yet- but you’ll be able to taste them, and crack some for yourself; you can crack them with a hand cracker, like pecans.  And you can order some for delivery in December.”
Besides the nuts, those attending the Open House will be able to — split chestnut fence rails.  “That’s assuming you know how to handle a sledge hammer and wedge.  This is likely the first time anyone in the USA has split chestnut fence rails for many decades.” according to Rutter, who was also Founding President of The American Chestnut Foundation.  
Visitors will also be able to see the Icelandic sheep flock that has made harvesting both chestnuts and hickory-pecans economcially possible.  With the critical help of a Flash Grant from the Shuttleworth Foundation, Badgersett now considers the sheep “Permanent. They mow grass and weeds better than any human or machine possibly can.  Plus they produce wool - and lambs, which lawn mowers rarely do.”  Rutter grins.  “Then there’s the horses...”
“It’s going to be fun.  You should come and see!”
Higher resolution photos available
Philip A. Rutter
Phone toll free: 888 557-4211  (We’re out harvesting! We’ll answer your message as soon as we can)
Map: PDF, or Google Maps, Badgersett Farm.
Badgersett Open House, Sat. Oct. 17 - information and updates
Badgersett website;
FaceBook: Badgersett Research Corp

Eleanor Rutter and chestnut crop at Badgersett Farm
World class chestnuts, grown in Minnesota - winter hardy and blight resistant.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Our New Website - IS LAUNCHED!

Please do take a look at the all new

This has been the work of years, by Brandon, to get our very old website re-built from scratch - and, finally!  Actually Editable - by normal humans.

Be aware- we still have tons of wording that will be out of date- but we're working on getting that all fixed, bit by bit.  If you find a particularly egregious example, please to let us know, at; that will help.

We're amazed, happy - and exhausted, yet again.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Chestnut harvest looming- and huge!

We've been wondering all year if we would get a real chestnut harvest this year, or not- since the abnormally cold spring led our trees here in Minnesota to flower about 2 weeks late.

The trees have made up their minds though, and their answer is YES -

This is T-401-S in flower (and Eleanor beneath) - and all those flower did indeed turn into chestnuts, currently loading the branches heavily.

This tree has had the chestnut blight for 5 years- see how poorly it's doing?  No?  You're correct- it doesn't care.  Even though there is a large basal canker; you simply can't see anything from a distance.  I photograph the cankers each year- and keep worrying they'll win the battle one day; but so far - the tree is winning; and making nut crops to boot.

That's Anastasia posing under the tree, our pony mule; the horses were too busy eating grass- and pruning chestnut limbs; to come when I called just now.

Something that's not only interesting- but important; the size of the nut and the date when they are ripe are often not related; some of our smallest, and some of our biggest nuts- are ripe; now; really quite early for Minnesota: