Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
It's late, I know! We did just get most of our outstanding nut orders shipped today, and although we expect to sell out by Christmas we do have a few left that you can snatch up, if you haven't already. We thought we should let you know:
If you make your e-mail order by 5 PM Monday, and you made it early enough that there are still nuts left, we should be able to get it shipped on Tuesday for Christmas delivery via our standard nut shipping (that is, at least, according to USPS). Barring, of course, further blizzards.
What we've got available:
FIRST TIME: BADGERSETT HYBRID HICKORIES! These look mostly like shagbark or shellbark hickories, but the shells are thin enough to crack with a hand cracker! Most nuts taste like premium pecan, some will have a good real hickory taste, and some will even taste like black walnut. Limited supply, and in 1-pound bags only. NOTE: though they'll crack with a hand cracker, you'll want a nut pick.
We still have Orchard Sampler, Large, and Old Fashion chestnuts here and ready to ship, though this year's Old Fashion is nearly gone.
We are shipping hazels (and now offer a smaller 1-lb sampler), but keep in mind that hazels on your order may still slow delivery. Employee sickness has slowed down our husking in the past week.
Order nuts here: http://www.badgersett.com/nuts/ordernuts.html
Check out some updated chestnut plier peeling method videos here: http://badgersettresearch.blogspot.com/2010/12/updated-chestnut-peeling-video.html
As Dad observed in a recent press release, "It sounds so simple it can seem silly- but it’s actually the difference between an easy happy experience, and yet another path to Holiday Hell."
And see our nut recipes here, including gluten-free stuffing: http://www.badgersett.com/info/recipes.html
(and a quick note about plants: we have a good supply of chestnuts and hazels for 2011 delivery still, however we are SOLD OUT of Select material, and Guaranteed XL. More than usual of our material this year is classed Experimental, since for the first time we'll be selling seedlings of Cycle 4 material. More advanced genetics, and better nut quality, but "Experimental" because we don't have the long track record we require for our EFB-guaranteed material.)
Happy Holidays from Badgersett!
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Here is most of the crew, gathered around the full harvest at sunset on the second day.
The harvest pile from a different angle. I'll try to post some pictures of it drying in our upper greenhouse; it covers most of one of the 40'x6' tables. As Philip said, this was around 20% or so of the nuts that were originally on the bushes; it was a pretty late harvest for that field. Even so, there were a number of outstanding bushes and parental lines still holding on to a substantial crop, and still ready for a shaker-based harvester. We'll soon be starting to coordinate machine-based harvest there and at Badgersett Farm #1, as well as insuring that both places get some fertilizer this fall.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Both Philip and Brandon are swamped getting the picking weekend organized as well as getting the work here running well enough to leave for a few days.
I'm going to be the on-farm center to coordinate volunteers, meetings, ride-shares and so on.
Here's the scoop...
Philip and Brandon will be on the site as early as they possibly can Friday, which MIGHT mean they will leave Thursday night as it is quite a distance away. They are willing to guide anyone in from the (sign up/call in to pick to get this info...) We are doing this for two reasons, first this is a private site (both for Badgersett and the owner) and also because the roads are highly confusing to navigate and literally dangerous in some places. Call me and LEAVE A MESSAGE at (888)557-4211 ext. 6; that will alert me through my email. I will be checking constantly throughout the weekend.
Driving arrangements can be made. Car-pools are welcome to meet at Badgersett and leave one or more of their vehicles here. Please let me know if you want to car-pool and when you will be arriving at Badgersett so I can set you up with like minded people.
Brandon and Philip will welcome a few riders going with them, but those people must stay at the site the whole weekend (returning Monday morning) or arrange to ride with someone leaving earlier in the weekend.
Sleeping arrangements are a little loose at the moment. We have two triple rooms reserved at a local motel in which we can probably stuff about 12 people. If you need a place to sleep, remember that they are available, but you may be sharing your sleeping arrangement with some new friends! Also if you are bringing a RV, tent, or even a van that you are planning to sleep in please let us know so we can find you a place.
Please remember that we would love to have you for the entire weekend, but if it is not possible feel free to come for the amount of time you can spare. I would just like to know when you will be arriving and leaving so I may arrange to have enough picking supplies for you as well as letting the guys know when you will be there.
Please feel free to call or email me starting from the instant you receive this so I can make this weekend a great experience for us all.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
- Remember, use the map on our website to find us- navigation systems usually don't work.
- Registration starts at 9:30 this year. First tours at 10.
- Morning tours: Woody Ag, and Mature Hazel Management. Hazel coppice demonstration!
- If things go well, we'll have a lunchtime raptor roost raising.
- Afternoon tours: Hybrid Hazels (possibly including harvest demo), and Animals in Woody Agriculture. Farm-hatched guinea keets!
- 3 PM other demonstrations and discussions start, possibly including fertilizer demo; brush puller demo, and husking. Q&A session.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
We were doing harvest and other related field work this morning, but we abandoned that in the heat and are now working in the shade of the chestnuts. The plan is to do some pruning and clearing out to make chestnut harvest a tiny bit, or a whole lot, easier.
Hazel harvest is trickling in. I hope it will wait to crush us in an avalanche of nuts until I am in the cast so I can actually go out and help the field crews.
Brandon is continuing to scare the crows with the shotgun. If luck holds he'll hit one or two that we can hang up as a warning to other crows to enter our fields at their peril. Not that he's a bad shot, but crows are really smart. He's also wrangling the field workers and volunteers. Sometimes I wonder if it's a bit like herding cats, but they are getting a lot of work done and we are grateful for the help.
Philip is working on press releases and the tour content for the field day. He's sequestered upstairs with earplugs in so he can actually work and not be driven insane by Elly the Dervish. He, and all of us at Badgersett, are hoping to make it a really great event this year. Hopefully we'll see some of our readers and friends there.
Consequently, I am writing this quick update. I hope you liked it.
Friday, August 6, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Friday, July 2, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
The less good news: we're sold out of hazel plants for the year. If your order has already been received and processed, there is a good chance that we will be able to fulfill even the most recent orders; however new orders and email orders not yet processed will most likely not be able to ship until next year.
We are particularly low on Large-select and Xtra Large-select material; I'm afraid that there's a good chance that some of the orders we've already taken for these classes of plants may not be filled this year. For those of you in this boat, you will have the option to convert your order to another class with higher availability, postpone it until next year, or take a refund.
We are essentially sold out of Chestnuts as well, but there may be a little wiggle-room for All-Purpose and Nut-type trees. Due to less stringent germination requirements, outstanding chestnut orders will likely all be ready to ship by late June/ early July.
Why are we sold out? Mostly, it boils down to: insufficient hazel harvest labor, extraordinarily bad weather for chestnut harvest, and the compounding effect those had on the timely processing of the hazel seed harvest.
This picture is of Philip harvesting chestnuts at 9 PM on October 10; we scrambled that day to get all we could in before the freeze that night. I was able to keep harvesting until about 2:30 AM, when the crop remaining had frozen; the greenhouse thermometer said it got down to 17.8° F that night. Harvest had already been slowed substantially by a poorly timed windstorm and wet weather; this very early freeze claimed more than 95% of the overall chestnut harvest. We did, nevertheless, manage to get enough in to cover the orders we've currently got in the database.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Pocket gophers- Geomys bursarius in the East, Thomomys sp. in the west; turn out to be extremely serious pests. This time of year; early Fall, is when the young of the year leave their home burrows, and invade new territory. You MUST get them out; one way or another.
This kind of gopher; pocket gophers, not the cute little stripy kind (which can eat tons of hazel NUTS if you leave your grass too long all summer and the population builds up...)
Here you see the teeth, that they cut roots with (their main food) and also use to dig with; their tremendous claws, and the deep cheek pockets that give them their name.
In 2001, the extent of the damage to young hazels by pocket gophers finally became crystal clear to us.
Hazels from 1-2 years old are too small to be very interesting to gophers; they may eat one or two, but damage will be minimal.
From 3-5 year old hazels however ARE big enough (the root systems), so that a pocket gopher may settle down and EAT. All the roots. All. Then go on to the next hazel in the line, and eat (ie. kill) that one. Then the next. This is a disaster.
Each of these sticks was a 3 year old hazel.... this is all the gopher left.
Once the hazels are a little older, their root systems are SO big that in most cases the gophers will get either full, or bored, and move on before doing lethal damage to the plant; most will survive. (There are some indications that genetics plays a role here, with native North American genes making the hazels less tasty to gophers, and European hazels getting worse damage levels. Maybe, we think.)
So - it's become critical to exclude pocket gophers from our young plantings - and yours, too.
Fall is an important time to GET them, for two big reasons:
1) They do NOT hibernate like some other rodents, and will cheerfully eat roots all winter; under frozen soil and snow where you can't get to them. 2) The juvenile gophers of the year spread out, in mid fall, and invade new areas. This is the only time you'll ever see a pocket gopher above ground; once a year, the young will get up on the surface and run like mad- maybe a mile; maybe two; then burrow in. Possibly this is a mechanism to prevent inbreeding in a mammal that otherwise moves very little from its home territory.
So, in fall, you'll see new gopher invasions, where you haven't had them before- and, these new sites are almost entirely young, DUMB gophers, which are very easily trapped.
The good news is; gophers CAN actually be controlled; unlike mice, which you could trap and remove by the hundreds, without making a dent in their population, gophers breed slowly, and trapping can actually keep them effectively out. But it's work getting there. Best way to do it is not allow them to get established in the first place.
A whole treatise on gopher control will take more than this web log to cover- main point here is; if you have gophers, GET them OUT of your hazels, right now. One gopher can easily kill 20-40 hazel plants per year; and not newly planted ones, mind you, but 3-5 year old plants, just ready to start bearing those nuts- a 5 year old hazel is vastly more valuable than a 1 year old; all that work; all that time. Hard to put a dollar value on, but we'll guess it's somewhere around $40/plant, IF you could find a similar replacement, which you can't. So; one gopher, at 40 X $40 = $1,600.
Holy Cats! Really?? Yeah, if you're counting.
Get the gophers out. Most farm neighborhoods with gophers have bounties on them; and kids and sometimes adults who make money trapping them out. Find your local gopher control folks (call the county agent if nothing else occurs to you), and get them out of your hazels, right now; before the ground freezes.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
I've got about 2 minutes "spare" here, and ran into these photos; which I thought I'd stick up here. (Click for bigger versions- recommended)
This is what our "to eat" hazels look like these days; this is actually what we ship. The upper photo is of a loaded sorting tray, just as it is when we're doing the final sort, removing any weeviled or spoiled nuts we can find.
There's been a substantial change in the overall size and quality; as we include more of the 3rd cycle plants- which are now producing, but not tested enough to use for seed. A lot of them have outstanding nuts.
As you know, if you're harvesting your own, the smaller ones frequently have extremely thin shells; paper thin- or thinner. We do discard heavy shelled bushes in the breeding process.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Day 1: Classes will start with Woody Agriculture theory and progress to details of establishment and planning, primarily focussing on hazels:
- Woody Agriculture Introduction: Theory and Energetics: Why; and How
- Basic Hazel Biology—plant morphology, physiology, genetics, species ecology
- Chestnuts, Hickories, and Others
- NEW! The Badgersett Hazel Breeding Program - Specifics on Cycles 1 through 4, with the math.
- Establishment— site selection, planting, and weed control
- NEW! Life Cycle Hazel Spacing— with effects on yield and long-term management
Day 2: The detail continues, with fertilization, pest management, marketing and sales:
- Fertilizing— how to assess and optimize hazel fertility
- Harvest and Post Harvest— ripeness assessment, state of the art hand harvest techniques and machine capability
- Pest Management in Detail—mammals, birds, insects, plants and fungi
- TENTATIVE Propagation, high and low tech—involving examination of actual plants in class, and including our proprietary on-farm cloning method.
- TENTATIVE Coppice— important details of this field renovation practice
- NEW! Nut Quality– faults, sorting, grading for sales
- NEW! Marketing– Including specifics on creating markets for new products.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
- Same pricing as 2008
- Four definite presentations:
- Life Cycle hazel spacing (new/improved)
- Nut Quality– faults, sorting, grading for sales (NEW, with hands-on materials)
- Badgersett Hazel Breeding Program. Specifics on Cycles 1 through 4, with the math. (NEW, given by yours truly)
- Marketing (skipped in 2008, so now it's back)
- Remaining presentations will be taken from those given previously; always updated with the newest information. If you as an attendee want a specific talk to be presented, let us know!
Friday, February 26, 2010
You'll recall we were working on answering the query from Tom in Dubuque, and the first part,
"I've planted Badgersett and others' hazels for years. I've found that the Badgersett hazels produce nice nuts, but generally don't thrive as well. "
had resulted in Big Fat Post #1.
Now, I'm going to tackle the rest, before the blog wanders too far in other directions; hopefully it won't take as long as the first bit.
"I've also found that despite my best efforts the deer keep the hazels severely pruned. "
Though that's not posed as a question, it's definitely something we need to talk about.
Whitetail deer damage to Badersett hazels is usually minimal and inconsequential. Though not always, as Tom observes. I'm aware of a couple other situations where deer have been an actual problem and delayed the growth of the bushes and production of nuts.
Truly, however- those situations are far and away the exception, not the rule.
Deer can cause serious damage to a hazel planting immediately after planting and during establishment; but there are a number of specific things to do which can nearly eliminate all attention from deer.
1) When the plants are small, do NOT keep them perfectly weeded. We prefer to cultivate between rows- but not between plants in a row. The resulting strip of "weeds" dramatically distracts the deer. As remembered by one of our Short Course attendees, if the only thing available to eat in your field is young hazelnuts; the deer will eat them. But they'd really rather eat almost anything else.
2) If your hazels are very widely spaced, that will increase deer damage per plant, according to our tests. Deer have short memories; and hazels don't taste great. If they've just taken a mouthful of hazel, they're likely to pass up the next hazels they wander past, if they're very close. If the next hazel is 15 feet away (5m)- they will have "forgotten" the bad taste- and they'll take another mouthful. When the bushes are only 2-3 feet tall, that can add up to a lot of damage.
3) If your deer are a little short on minerals; they will eat more hazels. It's a very good idea to actually provide a mineral block (salt with minors; blocks designed for deer exist) for your deer; again, according to our research, deer with good mineral access will eat almost anything rather than hazels.
4) Heavy adjacent cover will increase deer damage. If your hazels are planted right next to a bit of forest- the deer are very likely to stop there on the edge, and browse a few hazels, while they check to make sure it's safe to come all the way out into the open.
A question for Tom- have you done analysis of the nutritional status of your leaves? I'd be very interested in seeing the data on exact minors content.
"My question: About eight years ago I purchased chestnuts from you. They all struggled for a year or two and then died. I've heard since that at least three feet of matting is needed around chestnuts if they are going be become established. Is this true? Thanks."
The very short chestnuts in the row to the left were coppiced a year ago- we let the shoots grow back for multiple reasons; one of them being- to feed the deer. These were inferior plants that were crowding a chestnut tree or two which we wanted to follow more closely; but rather than killing them, we let them grow back from coppice, for several reasons. One is firewood, or "biomass" fuel research; another is to find chestnuts that naturally grow good straight poles from coppice. Do you know what a good chestnut pole is worth to an organic grape grower?
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
So- yes. In fact, we're going farther than that; starting this year, Badgersett will buy your harvested nuts.
So- you now have a guaranteed market.
It's going to be wild pain figuring out how to price everything- obviously we'll have to vary prices with crop quality (weevils, blanks, etc..) - and distance-
But still. We'll buy what you have (ANYBODY out there with our hazels) - which will really help give us a pool of nuts to work with; on processing, and marketing.
A good part of the reason we can do this this year - we've had another substantial infusion of investment cash; gives us more latitude to work.
But don't count on getting rich at it! :-)