Harvest is approaching! This week, husks are beginning to unfurl and nuts are beginning to change colour in certain varieties. Growers across the province are getting their harvest, cleaning, drying, storage, and processing equipment ready.
This year is the first significant harvest for many producers. While some have upgraded to mechanical harvest methods, some are opting to handpick from the trees either before or during nut fall.
There are a few things to remember if you choose to handpick before the nuts have dropped:
- Do not harvest too early. The majority of hazelnut fill happens 2 weeks before they ripen and drop. Harvesting too soon will result in smaller kernels.
- Nuts ripen at different rates, even on the same tree. If you harvest all nuts in one pass, you run the risk of having a variety of nuts at different stages of maturity. This means the kernels will be multiple sizes, textures, and tastes.
Squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons and birds have begun to consume ripening hazelnuts. Large raccoons in particular will often break tree branches as they climb them. Make sure you are scouting regularly for fresh shell fragments on the ground so that you can address the problem immediately. Refer to Publication 863 (page 87) for pest control tips.
2021 Ontario Hazelnut Assessment
This year, OMAFRA staff will be conducting an assessment of common Ontario-bred hazelnut cultivars and their kernel characteristics. There is currently no official publication of this information, and it will be very useful as growers can use these characteristics to decide which markets they would like to target.
Among other qualities, we will be looking at:
- Nut size and shape (in-shell and kernel)
- Consistency of nut size and shape
- Blanching characteristics
- Kernel fill %
- Overall quality
We are looking for volunteers who can provide us with nuts for this important assessment. Please note that:
- Nuts must be named cultivars from Ontario (i.e. no unknown/unnamed trees, no nuts from Oregon varieties such as Jefferson and Yamhill)
- Each sample must have at least 100 hazelnuts (a good mix of nuts from different trees) of a given variety
- The nuts must be dried
Please fill out this form if you are interested in participation. Any questions can be emailed to Jenny Liu (OMAFRA Maple, Tree Nut, and Agroforestry Specialist) at email@example.com. Thank you for your interest!
Webinars for Transitioning into Step 3
As Ontario moves forward into Step 3 and beyond, workplaces must remain vigilant and continue to follow recommended public health guidance in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
OMAFRA has partnered with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Ministry of Labour, Trade & Skills Development (MLTSD) to provide guidance and tips for workplaces to move forward safely.
2 webinars have been scheduled to provide information.
Webinar topic: Best practices for agri-food workplaces – transitioning into Step 3 and beyond
Date: Tuesday, August 24th
Times: 10 to 11 am session: for food processors, distribution & retail workplaces
Noon to 1 pm session: for farms & primary processing workplaces
There will also be a Q&A period where you can ask and get answers to your own questions.
You must register in advance. To register, follow this link.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.