$6,000 — Mixed Nut Orchard
Alex and Vanessa are diversifying their mixed vegetable operation with tree nuts. No other farmer in the county currently produces nuts for commercial sale. They are planning a one-and-a-half acre orchard with 100 hazelnuts, 12 Chinese chestnuts and six hardy almonds.
They are planting highly productive hybrid hazelnut varieties that combine the disease resistance of the American hazelnut and the nut size, flavor and productivity of the European hazelnut. They are also starting a small trial patch of the Hall’s Harding Almond, which has good potential for nut production in their Zone 6 region. Several Oriental chestnut varieties are also suitable for this region.
The orchard, which will start producing two years after establishment, could increase farm income from at least $5,000 to $12,000 per year depending on yields. The nuts will be available at tailgate markets, to CSA members and a few select wholesale accounts. Grant expenses include plants, fertilizer, mulch, nut harvester and a “rotosheller.”