Jon and I took a trip to Rutgers to learn a little more about our hazelnut trees and to see the operation at the university.
Dr. Tom Molnar, a professor at Rutgers knows EVERYTHING about Hazelnuts.
In fact, our hazelnut trees here at the farm were planted under his guidance and from some of the trees he has been working with for years. He graciously took us all through the orchard to look at the trees and pick some hazelnuts of our own.
First, we had to find what we were looking for…
And then gather away!
Apparently there are several methods of gathering. There is a mechanized picker, which takes some preparation before you can use it (think of how you have to clean your house BEFORE someone comes to clean your house and then you’ve got it). But best of all is the non-mechanized, human gatherer.
We used all sorts of techniques: the ‘rake’, the ‘shovel’, the ‘pincer’, the ‘sieve’…and they all accumulated into about 10 pounds of hazelnuts!
Now all we have to do is dry them, shell them and roast them. Dr. Molnar was kind enough to give us some of his already-dried hazelnuts so that we could begin shelling and roasting immediately. So while I was out last night…just for about 40 minutes…Jon created a squirrel buffet on the back porch in his haste to get to the ‘meat’ and roast it.
But once they are dried, shelled and roasted, boy are they good!
A big thank you to Dr, Molnar for taking so much time to show us his operation.