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Filberts Hazelnuts What do we know about filberts Hazelnuts Hazelnuts in history? Carbonized filbert shells were discovered in in an archaeological excavation near Pompeii, in a site destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A. We know that the filbert nut was exported from regions near the Black Sea at least 2, years ago.

It is, in fact, one of the oldest cultivated plants of Europe, having been grown for many centuries in Turkey, Italy, Spain, France, Germany and England. By the eleventh century, filberts Hazelnuts were traded in the markets of Genoa.

In filbert nuts were brought into Russia, and exchanged for leather and velvet. The nut-bearing hazel has long been associated with mystic rites and the occult. In ancient Rome, hazel torches were burned during the wedding night as a token of fertility and to ensure a happy marriage. A forked divining rod, made from the Y-shaped branch of a hazel, was regarded in remote times as a tool for finding buried treasure. During the Dark and Middle Ages, the hazel rod was used in attempts to detect underground streams of water and unseen veins of precious metals.

There are references to the hazelnut in Shakespeare? And even today, dowsing enthusiasts employ rods made from hazelnut wood. What is the best climate for cultivating filberts Hazelnuts , and where is it found?

They absolutely cannot tolerate late freezes. Mostly they grow near bodies of water which moderate the climate. Thus, there are four limited geographical regions in the world where filberts Hazelnuts are produced today. What types of filberts Hazelnuts grow in the United States?

There are two species of filberts Hazelnuts indigenous to North America. One is the American filbert located primarily in the East, and the other is the beaked filbert, which ranges from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Both are small, hardy, shrubby trees or bushes. The nuts from these species are small, with thick shells, and they are of inferior quality. They are mainly used as food for wildlife, and not for human consumption.

In the western United States, the Corylus nut is known as filbert, while in the East it is referred to as hazelnut. It also sometimes used to be called? Generally speaking, all of these names are used interchangeably. The tasty filbert of commerce that is cultivated in the United States comes from European stock. In filberts Hazelnuts were included in a selection of seeds sent to the Massachusetts Company.

By filbert plants were being offered for sale in New York, in William Prince? Although attempts were made to grow filberts Hazelnuts in the northeastern United States, as well as the Midwest and the South, they mostly failed, due to one or another of the following reasons: In the northeastern United States, filberts Hazelnuts bloom in the early spring.

Their catkins start to develop in the first warm days. If the bloom is followed by some frigid nights, the flowers die and there will be no nuts.

In Felix Gillet, a French barber who established a plant nursery in California, introduced the cultivated varieties of filberts Hazelnuts to the West Coast of the United States. He accurately foresaw that filberts Hazelnuts would thrive in the maritime coastal valleys of Oregon and the neighboring state of Washington. How are filberts Hazelnuts cultivated in the United States?

Recently Barcelona has been replaced by a superior cultivar named Ennis, while Daviana has been replaced by an exceptional pollenizer named Butler. The recommended spacing for filbert orchards vary, ranging from 15 feet by 15 feet to 20 feet by 10 feet. Every sixth tree in every third row is a pollenizer. This provides uniform pollination in a ratio of one pollenizer to 17 main crop trees. It is not necessary to introduce bees to the orchard, because filberts Hazelnuts are pollenized by the wind.

Under favorable conditions, the filbert orchard can be productive for 50 or 60 years, after an initiation period of five years. A good harvest is considered two thousands pounds of dry in-shell filberts Hazelnuts per acre. If there is a heavy crop one year it is usually followed by a light crop the next year. The normal growing pattern of the European filbert is to produce suckers, so that it becomes a multi-stemmed shrub. In the United States the season-long production of suckers would be a nuisance; consequently American growers train their filbert trees to a single trunk.

In , the U. Department of Agriculture started researching nuts in a laboratory especially set up for this purpose in the Pacific Northwest. Another change has recently been introduced into filbert orchards. The former methods of tilling the soil by tools has been replaced with new methods of soil management, involving chemical herbicides in the row and mechanical weed control in the aisles.

This results in a firmer harvest surface than that obtained by harrowing the ground. In Oregon, the harvest begins towards the end of September, or in early October. With good weather and modern harvesting equipment, an experienced crew of five workers can harvest about two hundred acres in 10 days. Mechanical sweepers gather the nuts, which are then picked up in bins.

Then the filberts Hazelnuts are sold to consumers in the shell, or to bakers and salters in shelled form. There is a growing export demand for these? In the past the greatest demand was for the smaller sizes. Since the U. How did filbert production develop in Turkey? In the mid ? A Turkish company, formed in , engaged in a thriving export business for several years. However, as a result of military conflict with Crete, several large nut shipments were lost at sea in , and the firm went bankrupt.

Although Turkey has had to contend with endless wars, economic depressions and violent government changes, it has managed to gradually increase its filbert production and export. Thus, Turkey is the world? How does filbert cultivation in Turkey differ from that in the United States? The main difference lies in the machine-oriented methods employed in the U.

Also, in the United States, filbert trees are planted in straight rows, and each tree is trained to grow with a single trunk to permit mechanical cultivation. In Turkey, filberts Hazelnuts grow on multi-trunked shrubs, set in rocky, steep hillsides, in clumps of four or five bushes in a five-foot circle. The bushes are often the result of chance seedlings taking root.

Each bush has several stems about 12 to 16 feet high. The stems are permitted to grow for about thirty years or so, then they are removed to make way for younger stems. There are no regular filbert orchards in Turkey. Bushes are planted unevenly and haphazardly in the steep, stony terrain to avoid crags, boulders and other obstacles.

Goats are frequently grazed among the filbert bushes to control weeds. The Turkish peasant generally allows nature to take its course, and uses hand tools and manual labor for tilling.

In the United States most filberts Hazelnuts are harvested following their natural drop to the ground. The filbert industry is mechanized from start to finish, from the time the hole is dug to plant the young tree, to the point when the nuts are machine-harvested from the ground. Because the filbert seedlings do not grow true to type, and the filbert is difficult to graft, a procedure called? Year old stems of the desired filbert cultivar are bent into the soil and out again so that the tip is above ground and the U-shaped portion under ground.

During the growing season roots are formed on the underground part of the stem. The new layered tree is severed from the parent tree in November and dug in December.

Layerage is a slow method of propagation, but it produces a well-rooted tree large enough for orchard planting. In Turkey the filberts Hazelnuts are hand-picked off the bushes by women, old men, girls and boys, with baskets hanging from their sides. And yet, despite its primitive methods, Turkey has managed to increase its recent domination of world filbert production, as is apparent from the following statistics.

Consider that 2, pounds equals one metric ton. In , Turkey produced , tons while about 11, tons came from the United States. In , when the total world production of filberts Hazelnuts was ,00 metric tons, , tons came from Turkey, while only 11, tons were produced in the United States. How did Turkey manage to increase it filbert production so dramatically? Mostly by devoting more acreage to growing filberts Hazelnuts. It is estimated that in Turkey there are roughly two hundred and forty filbert bushes per acre, compared with one hundred and eight filbert trees per acre in Washington and Oregon.

It is difficult to calculate the precise acreage devoted to filberts Hazelnuts in Turkey, as there are no real statistics available. Nevertheless, we can safely assume from the information we do have, that almost , acres of filberts Hazelnuts are planted in Turkey, while in the United States just 24, acres are devoted to filberts Hazelnuts in Washington and Oregon. In fact, the United States actually imports about 4, tons of filberts Hazelnuts from Turkey each year.

How are filberts Hazelnuts processed in Turkey? After the filberts Hazelnuts have been picked in the husk on the Turkish hillsides, they are transported to central locations to be dried in the sun. Sometimes they are dried in heated buildings. Then the husks are removed, either manually, by beating them lightly with thin rods or slender shoots taken from the filbert bushes, or by husking machines. Shells are cracked between revolving millstones or similar equipment.

Blowers remove the shells. The kernels are screened, graded by size, sorted and bagged for export.

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