Oregon’s hazelnut harvest has ended. As growers repair machinery, tidy the orchard floor and recover from the hectic season, Oregon’s prized nuts begin their journey from orchard to consumer.
First, nuts are cleaned, weighed, sampled and dried. Then, they are either left in their shells, or are shelled and sorted by kernel size and put into vacuum-sealed bags for snacking. Shelled nuts are also used to make products like hazelnut butter and hazelnut flour.
Where do all of these hazelnuts go? The majority of Oregon’s nuts are exported to places like China where consumers prefer in-shell hazelnuts. The rest are consumed in the U.S. in many different forms. The Pacific Northwest’s best restaurants and bakeries feature Oregon hazelnuts on their menus year round.
October’s hazelnut harvest was a race to gather all of the hazelnuts off the orchard floor before the fall rains came and luckily, we were on-hand to capture the process of harvest at Christensen Farms where Zach and his family tend to more than 600 acres of hazelnuts.
Hungry for more? Celebrate the heritage of Oregon hazelnuts at the Mt. Angel Hazelnut Festival on Dec. 6-7. This event is perfect for the whole family, featuring local arts and crafts, Oregon wine and brews and of course, nutty snacks!