Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Elite Hazel Tubelings Available NOW -

1,200 Elite Genetics Hazelnut Tubelings

Available NOW - First Come First Served-

We have a new supplier of hazel tubelings this year; and they have 1,200 unique tubelings ready for planting.

These are NOT tubelings from Badgersett’s catalog, and are not included in our calculations of supply and the shipping queue; the plants are in Illinois, and have been grown in the greenhouse of the NW Illinois grower.  They belong to the grower, and the money goes to them; Badgersett is just acting as the connection here. 
It is hard to emphasize enough how very special the genetics of these hazels are.  
First: Each bush for seed was personally selected by Philip Rutter; on site, at harvest.  The parents are the best of the best; in most cases based on multiple years of crop behavior; Philip has been part of the harvest crew there almost every year. 
Second: This planting is from the most advanced genetics available when it was planted; genetics again selected by Philip Rutter. This planting is isolated from other neohybrid hazel plantings- therefore the pollen cloud that produces the nuts is also select.  Tubelings from Badgersett will sometimes be pollinated by plants from earlier cycles- since all exist there simultaneously, for continuous research purposes.  That’s not a bad thing for research and genetic progress; but it does make the seedlings a little less predictable for production purposes.
These tubelings come from the most reliable parent lines available.  They are primarily Cycle 3 Expansion genetics, with some Cycle 2 Elite plants included.
Third: These tubelings come from the same genetic collection that is now being planted both at Badgersett and at Open Source Ecology’s Missouri farm as the next step in development of neohybrid hazel crop genetics.  Badgersett has not made a large hazel planting for some years, as data was inadequate to provide good selection criteria.  That selection is now possible - and this is IT.
785 of these tubelings come from parentage that is “Short-statured; Machinable”.  
Some of the test plantings with these genetics were “breeding true” for these characteristics at VERY high heritability rates: short stature- 94%; heavy crop - 60%; annual crop - 75%.  We can NOT guarantee these tubelings will perform with the same consistency; since the pollen cloud is different; but the high consistency of the female parent is very significant, typically an excellent predictor.
420 are from the other well differentiated group of “Tall-statured; Hand Harvest”.  
These are hazels that tend towards the growth habit of pure European hazels, with heavier wood and taller plants that make machine harvest with the current pickers difficult when the bushes get older.  They get tall and heavy quickly after coppice, also.  We are making a major planting of this type at Badgersett this year, with the specific intention of managing the plants with sheep to prepare for harvest by traditional methods.  Heritability of all characteristics for this group is lower- tall stature - 60%; heavy crop 40%; annual crop 40%.
For all these hazels, EFB resistance and cold hardiness in zone 4 are “fixed” genetically; inherited at over 95%; Big Bud Mite is well established in the Illinois fields, and seed is selected only from plants little affected, for multiple years.  The trunk-borer data are less clear yet, but badly affected plants are never selected for seed; and some very resistant plants do exist. 
Orders and payment are through Badgersett; email orders@badgersett.com.
Prices: Super Elite hazels; $8.50 per plant; 100 plants or more $8.10
Delivery: arranged with grower; pick-up only.  We’ll put you in touch.

These won’t last long- order now!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Woody Ag #3: All Hands On Course

The course we're running June 21-25 is essentially our training tool #3; the first is the Short Course (not offered this year), the second is the Book; and now for the first time we're offering the next step: "Hands On", 5 days in the field with both direct work experience and training in "what" and "how"; in detail and with practice.

Exact activities on each day will be determined by the weather (since this is 100% outdoors); but we expect to have:

2 days of twig by twig, leaf by leaf, hoof by hoof examination and training on neohybrid hazels, chestnuts, and pecans; and the accompanying animals we now include; sheep, horses, dogs, and cats.  Some content about our heritage apple orchard may be possible.  We now consider all of these to be important to making the farm work, and have sufficient experience with the integrations we feel able to teach others.  Other animals and other tree crops will be adaptable to processes and principles you can learn here.  Badgersett is home to the northernmost germplasm collection of Black Walnut, a joint project with the USDA and the Walnut Council; that grove will be included.

2 days will be actual planting of crops; hazels and chestnuts; by both hand and machine processes.

1 day will be training in the necessary skills and habits of "seeing".

Attendees are invited to camp here on the farm for the duration; or local motels are available (though not as convenient).  Facilities are primitive; both tent and vehicular camps can be accommodated.

Cost: $970 for the 5 days.  Food is not included in that price; we hope to be able to offer 2 meals a day catered very reasonably; or attendees are welcome to do their own camp cooking (we can provide  wood for campfires.)

Attendance will be limited to 15.  Spouses and children are welcome to join the camping process; but only paid students can be present for teaching procedures.  Multiple possibilities exist for daily activities for families, lists will be provided.

Course content will be provided by Philip Rutter; this will be an exceptional opportunity to spend time with the originator of these neohybrid crops.

Day 1, June 21, classes will begin at 9 AM (camping the night before is welcome).  Since that day is also the Summer Solstice, we will be having our annual Solstice Bonfire that evening, families welcome of course.

The final day, June 25, we expect to end official activities at 3 PM; those wishing to stay/camp longer are welcome to do so.

More details as we have them.

To register, please email orders@badgersett.com with your information, and arrange payment.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Short Course- Becomes Long Course...

Notice is short, but - instead of our usual Annual 2 Day Short Course - this year we are going to run an entirely different, and much longer event.

We're looking at the last full week of June.  The event will probably start Tuesday, June 21, and will run for 5 full days.

Content and format will be completely different from all past courses.

At the moment, details are still a bit flexible; if you're planning to attend, your input is requested in the next 5 days; then specifics will be determined.

We will not be using the meeting spaces and classrooms at Eagle Bluff, rather 100% of this event will take place outdoors, on Badgersett Farm.  We hope, and recommend, that attendees will plan to camp here for the duration; either tent or vehicular camping is welcome.  Food- is yet to be figured out, but might be easiest if folks planned mostly on a little camp cooking on their own.  If you want to cook on a campfire - we can provide the wood.  (That's humor.)

Approximate content: 2 days will be spent on "whole-systems integration"; looking at the interactions of the various crops, and including the livestock, coppice wood, biochar, and biodiverse pest management.  We'll walk, see, and discuss; 2 days is not too long.  2 days will be spent actively planting the next breeding cycles of all 3 crops; neohybrid hazels, neohybrid chestnuts, and neohybrid pecans.  This is a major planting year; moving the genetics of all 3 up a notch; genetics details will be explained as we plant.  And one day will be devoted to teaching and learning to "see." As explained in our book, Growing Hybrid Hazels, these crops all require farmer geneticists - who have to know what they see - just as dairy farmers can look at their cattle and see the details invisible to those not involved.

When you register, we will immediately ship you the DVDs for the past 2 Short Course years.  You'll need to watch and be familiar- material covered there is NOT going to be repeated during this event.  This is "next stage" information.

You can put comments here; to register and for further details please email info@badgersett.com

Details as fast as we can provide them; right now- have to get on the plow and get land prepared for machine planting, before the ground prep done by the horses goes to waste-

Thursday, May 5, 2016

This post is an update; main Lamb-etc. Day Activities list is just below.

The weather forecast for Mothers Day: PERFECT.  Not kidding!  Sunny, top temperature 70°F, top winds- 5 mph; chance of rain 0.  And my farmer-weather-expert confidence in those projections is around 95%.

The apple trees and blossoms are absolutely on track to be at PEAK on Sunday.  Here is one of the first to reach "early-full", from yesterday:

And we ARE in luck - our Mystery Bloom IS GOING TO BE PEAKING on Sunday!  Not only are these Gold Buds everywhere; but the earliest trees are already nearly at "peak orchid" stage! Took these photos yesterday.

I have to wonder if Robert Frost was seeing these buds, along with the flowering maples and oaks:

"Nature's first green ... is gold. Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf's a flower; but only so an hour..."   His poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay"

 Adding to our list of distinguished guests and artists; we will be having a "mini-show" - and sale - of ceramic art from Iowa's Potter Laureate, Dean Schwarz.  Dean has pots in museums around the world.  He and his entire family are dear friends; and for the first time anywhere, we will be displaying the vase he created especially for us; for Philip and Meg's wedding.  It's gorgeous; and not for sale, .  Four of his pots will be for sale, and we'll also show more of his work in the "nfs" category.
And the lambs!  We're at 16 this morning; and counting - the tiny thing that looks like a rabbit on the left is a 2 day old; the 2 all the way to the right are 2 week old lambs- that were much the same size when they were born.  Icelandics are born that small, and they grow that fast!  Come and See!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Lamb - Blossom - Mom Day - Authors, Artists, And Activities - Oh My!

This May 8th; Mothers Day, Badgersett will hold our First 
Annual Lamb - Blossom - Mom Day!
10 AM  to 7 PM

May 1 - On Schedule!

We intend that this will become an Annual event - there will always be apple blossoms; there will always be new lambs, there will always be Moms who need a little time to enjoy the world with their kids, and there will always be friends we want to share it all with.

            We have a Spectacular Day arranged for you! 

Look below here for Authors, Artists, Things To See, Things To Do; and Things To Buy.

— Authors — Artists  —

Beth Dooley - One of Minnesota's most beloved food writers - WILL BE HERE - to sign her new book In Winter's Kitchen !  How do we rate such wonderfulness?   Well.  One of the chapters in Winter's Kitchen is - "Chestnuts".  And we get mentioned a bit.  So she'll be signing her books- under chestnut trees for you.  (We hope you're bringing some of your other books too, Beth!)

Tom Teller - a wood turner of considerable reputation - will be showing and selling his work.  Tom has been interested in transforming several of the unusual woods we can provide into his art for several years.  Not too surprisingly, some of our wood has proved - difficult.  But you'll see from his other work how gorgeous his results can be- and you'll understand why we're not giving up.

Dee Teller - Internationally known Asian Brush Stroke artist - will be showing and selling her work.  Her paintings of Horses - continue to win important prizes, and you will see why!

Josh Landy - Award-winning Mead and Cider Maker - will be here to talk about the cider he made from these trees last fall - and the hopes for scaling those test batches up.  Beth Dooley got a little taste of it last November...  All but a few of our apple trees are Heritage varieties; Golden Russet, Roxbury Russet, Westfield-Seek-No-Further - the cider they can produce is as different from regular commercial ciders as champagne is from grape juice...  all starting with the blossoms.

And - More!  We still have artists/artisans letting us know.  Are you one?  Let us know!  What's Mother's Day without a sale or two for Mom to look at??

We - will of course be selling and signing our new book from Chelsea Green, Growing Hybrid Hazelnuts.  This would be the one where Joel Salatin's enthusiastic comment was "Sign me up!", and John Torgrimson of Seed Savers: "Apply Johnny Appleseed’s pioneering spirit to the science of breeding and cultivating hazelnuts, and you’ll begin to understand..."

Speaking of Seed Savers!  You should be aware of the chance for a great weekend here; their annual Spring Plant Sale; and Spring Garden School - happen May 7 - the day before Lamb-Blossom-Mom.   And Seed Savers, in case you didn't know - is just 20 miles away from us.

— Things To See —

•  Lambs - The big problem with young Icelandic lambs is that they are so adorable - you can just watch, and watch.  They are distilled, purified, Life; and will light up any face.  We will have a couple of the ewes penned close enough so that petting their little ones should be easy; though after they're about 3 days old they can get seriously frisky.  We'll try; and we have several of the adults who love to be petted at all times, so some contact is guaranteed.

•  The Running Of The Rams (And Lambs) - Something we've always wanted to share- when the sheep are let into their new paddock - with lots of fresh grass - they usually put on a show for us; not only racing in and around, but usually with a great deal of leaping and sheer exuberant kicking; the big rams included.  It's fun to see Buster - 3 feet up in the air, forelegs going north, hind legs going south; doing a half-gainer with a half-twist before hitting the ground and chasing everything again.  We're going to have the next paddock set up and waiting - and we'll do the Running about 2 PM, for you to see.

•  Apple Blossom Time - Endless poems, stories, and songs have been written about apple blossom time - now you can find out why.

Come and wander anywhere you like under our full sized Heritage apples - which we expect to be in full bloom on May 8.  Take all the time you like- in fact- bring a picnic.

•  Chestnut trees, Hybrid Pecan trees, hazel bushes, solar greenhouse, horses, biodiverse ecosystem crop management -  All the things we normally feature during our open house days are here of course; there's 160 acres of things to see..

•  The Mystery Not-An-Orchid - It looks like there's an excellent chance we can see some on May 8.  We'll introduce you.

•  Biomass Harvest - Coppice - In Progress - We've been complaining for several years now that we were drowning in biomass.  This year we've started harvesting it seriously; turning the chestnut and hazel wood into usable/salable products: fence posts, bamboo replacements, and biochar.  Never heard of biochar?  Then you should come.  Know lots about biochar?  Come.  And yes, we'll have some of the products on sale.

— Things To DO —

•  Bring The Brunch! - Mother's Day Brunch is a tradition for many - this year - why not bring Mom, and brunch, and a blanket - and settle under an apple tree for a picnic?  Please do.  And ->

•  Blossoms For Mom - We have dozens of big apple trees- most of which actually need some pruning - if you ask us, we will cut a good branch (about 2 feet) of apple blossoms for you to give your Mom; either here, or to take home to her if she wasn't able to come out with you.  Put it in water like any cut flowers and they can keep for at least a week.

•  Your Mom Wants Nettles!  Even if you didn't know that.  Part of our sharing with you - you are welcome to pick plenty of nettles to feed your family, free.  Lots of folks would love to have good spring nettles; but it's hard to find a place to just go and pick enough.  Here we are!

Don't know about nettles?  Beth Dooley does - she says that was the thing that pushed her over the top on her decision to come.  Michael Pollan has eaten our nettles - harvested from under our hazel bushes.  He's not sure he remembers the soup (likely 10 years ago), served to him in a restaurant in Minneapolis - but he loves nettles, and told me a new way to eat them, when I was asking his permission to tell you this story - on pizza.  "I love nettles -in soup, on pizza- so fine."

So- with that in mind, Beth Dooley has a recipe for Forager's Pizza With Nettles - which we'll be handing out to those who come and pick.

We have never had so many beautiful, easily picked nettles as this year.  They are one of the few things that grow well in the dense shade of the hazel bushes; and our Biodiverse Management means we let them grow there- they're not only good food for us; but for the entire ecosystem here.  Picking them won't hurt a thing; they'll grow back; they're a crop.

As food - they are crazy delicious, and astonishingly nutritious.  It's because they're so good that they  have such effective defenses; but just wear leather gloves while picking, and before they're cooked, and they're easy to work with.  Boiled or steamed - 100% of the sting is gone.  We're nettle experts here, and we'll show you how- it takes about 20 seconds for the whole class.

Come- and pick - all you want.  Well- all you want to feed your own family; if you're interested in harvesting and selling our nettles as a business; we need to talk.  Yes, we have that much.  We're doing a lot of hazel coppice right now; and as a result, the young nettles are incredibly easy to get to; and abundant.   BRING - gloves, scissors or a knife to cut them off, and something to put them in; any bag or bucket will do.

Oh; and if while you're harvesting nettles you should happen to run into some gorgeous Dandelion Greens - you're welcome to harvest those, free, too.

•  Wildflower Scavenger Hunt - KIDS - All our tree crops are growing on land that was corn and beans.  But now - we have wildflowers coming back into the almost-forests of our groves; things like Jack-In-The-Pulpit, Mayapple - and more.  Meg is the organizer of this hunt, and will hand your kids a list of wildflowers to find.  If the find them all - and they can pick them and bring them to show - there will be small prizes.

•  New Wildflower Species Hunt - Adults - Every year we find a new species of wildflower or other wild plants that have found their way to co-exist with our crops; and we can use your help finding and identifying them.  If you're a native plant enthusiast - this is for you.  We'd like to do this every year; it's part of the science, too.  We can get you started, and point you; but we really need a good baseline list launched.

Help Us Plant Hybrid Pecans - we've got tubelings overwintered in the greenhouse that need to get out, now.  You'll need to plant at least 10 for it to be worth while for us to show you how and where; but if you want to plant 100 - we can arrange that, too!

• Learn to divide and propagate hybrid hazels - This will likely be a one-time demonstration, around 3 PM.  We developed this technique of springtime, direct in-field propagation; and will show you how.  If you're interested enough - we could use some volunteer help to get a serious amount of this done here this year; not on May 8; but very soon.

•  Things You Could Teach US -  One of the things we're doing with our coppice chestnut wood is building horse corral, using split rails.  We know about 10 ways to do it- and don't like any of them.  Some take too much wood, some are unstable- If you know how, or have suggestions - Come Teach Us!  Another thing - we're novices at handling wool; and we have all of this year's Icelandic fleeces waiting for us to do right by them.  We don't even really know how to "skirt" a fleece- can you show us?  This would be a good time!

•  Solar Greenhouse - We think we are the oldest solar off-grid business in Minnesota, and our entirely solar heated and powered, earth-sheltered greenhouse is a big part of that; you're welcome to take a look inside and hear about it.

— Things To BUY —

   Badgersett Farm is in a transition phase; we're not stopping the Research - but we are adding to the Farm part - real production, real sales.  The crops are all at the point where that is the next step - they work (after 30 years of proof) - now we need to DO it.  So you can expect an increasing diversity of things that we have to offer you.  Here is a partial list.

Hazelnut Oil — this is what hazel oil should be; artisan made oil from France, not our own.

Icelandic sheep products - raw fleece, tanned skins, horns, and registered breeding stock

Hazel wood - hiking staff/ wizard staff / quarterstaff  unfinished blanks.  Did you know that hazel is the #1 choice of wood of the British Quarterstaff Association?  Yep.  Garden stakes; pea, bean, tomato poles; marshmallow sticks - We're calling this "Minnesota Bamboo" - because you can use it just like bamboo - but it wasn't shipped from the other side of the world...

Chestnut wood - shiitake logs, fence posts, heavy stakes, some very small saw logs, carving bolts

Live plants- sweetgrass, highbush cranberry, and our special "Sheep-o-Lantern" pumpkins.  (no, sorry, we will have not nut seedlings ready to sell yet)

Nuts To Eat - NOW

Badgersett Hybrid Pecans - these are at peak flavor, and stored in our freezer to keep them there - EXCLUSIVE with us; no one else in North America has these.

Fresh Chestnuts - If you think chestnuts are just for the winter holidays - you should buy Beth Dooley's book!  We have these available May 8th, in fresh condition.  The Atlantic Monthly used them to make a chestnut-asparagus dish; we think chestnuts and nettles are likely to work well too.

AND - There's a good chance we will have a NEW chestnut product available for you to try, and buy; something no one has ever produced or marketed before.  Not our chestnut polenta - something else.

And Don't Forget -

Books — Wood Turnings — Art — And MORE ...

May 8th, 2016; 10 AM to 7 PM

How To Get Here:  Map

Updates to all this will appear here on this blog and on our Facebook sites; and hopefully our website.

Greenhouse; 507-743-8570
Meg's cell: 507-481-6946