Today the Oregon Country Farm crew made the 1/2 hour trek to Eugene for a lunch put on by Northwest Hazelnut Co., the buyer of our filberts. We were among the crowd of Southern Willamette Valley hazelnut growers. Northwest Hazelnut Co. are the fine folks who buy, wash, dry, sort and distribute 37,000 tons of Oregon filberts around the world. We’re talkin’ China, Dubai, Cairo, Israel, you name it. Well, almost. It was great to be able to talk to the actual people who buy our product and to understand all of the hard work they do to make it most profitable for us farmers.
At our table there was a man and his teenage sons who own a 40 acre filbert farm about 20 miles west of us in a town called Halsey. We compared notes on best practices, disease resistant varieties, the Columbus Day Storm of ’62 and the Great Freeze of the 70’s. Besides those boys and us, it was a decidedly seasoned crowd. Open conversation topics ranged from the late auxiliary payment from the 2011 crop and mold in the Ennis nut variety, to Chinese hazelnut enthusiasm and the apparent aversion young people have to shelling nuts.
PLUS we got free flashlights, chocolate treats and spiffy Northwest Hazelnut Co. ball caps.