Sunday, August 25, 2013


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.

UPDATE: at noon: Paranoia Is Good For You!

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!

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