We are excited to announce that chestnut pre-orders are now available! As we wait for our newly-planted chestnut trees to mature on two of our farms, we currently have chestnuts available from a third farm we are working on (and learning from!).
We start harvesting soon, and in the meantime we are taking pre-orders. Please contact us if you are interested in purchasing our chestnuts; we are expecting to sell out of this first harvest.
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Of course, one of the most traditional ways to cook chestnut is to roast them! Preheat your oven to 425 degrees, and set chestnuts on a cutting board, flat side down. Cut an “x” into each one, which allows steam to escape as they are cooking. Place the chestnuts in a foil-lined pan with the “x” facing up, and cook for 20-25 minutes. Peel while still warm and enjoy!
The American chestnut tree has a fascinating history. These beautiful trees once populated over 200 million acres of eastern woodlands until succumbing to a lethal fungus infestation, known as the chestnut blight, during the early 1900s. Within 40 years, over 30 million acres of chestnut trees were destroyed by the blight.
According to the American Chestnut Foundation, the American chestnut tree was an essential component of the entire eastern US ecosystem. It was a late-flowering, reliable, and productive tree, unaffected by seasonal frosts, and was the single most important food source for a wide variety of wildlife from bears to birds.
More recently, blight-resistant chestnut species have been used in breeding programs in the U.S. to create hybrids with the American chestnut. These blight-resistant hybrid American Chestnut trees have been successfully bearing nuts in orchards across the United States, including North Carolina.
This resurgence of the chestnut tree is exciting, and we are looking forward to our first crop. Our trees are Dunstan chestnut trees, which were actually first crossbred in Greensboro (love having that North Carolina connection!)
The trees on both of our farms are still young, having just been planted this past spring. But all are doing well, and many are already producing the distinctive spiny chestnut “husk”:
Over the past several weekends we have taken advantage of the beautiful North Carolina weather to begin planting our chestnut trees.
The kids jumped in to help, and nothing makes Chris and I happier than getting both of them outside and involved in the farm work.
Our well won’t be installed until later this summer, so for now we’re bringing in water and irrigating the trees using the very low-tech (but still highly effective!) “bucket method.” We just drill a small hole in the bottom of the buckets, place near the trees, and let gravity do the rest!