It used to be that you would sit down with a bowl of nuts, and crack them by hand one at a time. Each kernel a reward for getting through the tough outer shell. Today’s consumers prefer the convenience of tossing back a handful of hazelnut kernels as a quick, heart healthy snack. This change in hazelnut consumption has left mounds of shells with no final destination. David Bantz knew he could find a good market for this byproduct of the hazelnut industry. He had used hazelnut shells in his own yard before to keep the slugs out, and the weeds down. In 2010 David founded He Sells These Shells selling 25-pound sacks of hazelnut shells at farmers’ markets in the Portland Metro area as long lasting mulch, slug deterrent, to reduce weed growth, and as a more permeable ground cover. You can now find He Sells These Shells in 5 farmers’ markets, and on the shelves of over 40 retailers in the Portland Metro area.
David has just wrapped up his best month to date with 143,950 pounds of shells sold, a 46% increase over his previous best month. He Sells These Shells still has its traditionally strongest months to go (April, May, June, and July). David partially attributes this growth to the increase of shelling in the Oregon Hazelnut industry. A larger supply has brought prices of the shells down to be more competitive with traditional bark mulch. David is finding even more room for growth by working with businesses, and researchers to find industrial applications for hazelnut shells.
Storm water carries metals, oils and other additives from industrial areas into our watersheds. These pollutants can be harmful to humans and wildlife. Hazelnuts might be able to help prevent them from ever even reaching the water system. Hazelnut shells are showing promise in filtering Zinc and Copper out of industrial storm water. Tests have shown that hazelnut shells as a part of bio-pillows used at the Port of Vancouver have removed over 76% of Zinc and 86% of copper. Further testing being done at Cal State Pomona has shown that hazelnuts shells can remove up to 96% of chromium from storm water. He Sells These Shells provides the hazelnut shells for these studies.
If you would like more information on David and He Sells These Shells, or where to buy hazelnut shells visit: HeSellsTheseShells.com.