Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Chestnut Harvest 2017

The chestnut harvest this year began about 10 days early.  However, we are about caught up and will continue harvesting for the next 3 weeks, with the bulk of the harvest in the next 2 weeks. Harvesting is done with equipment and manually.  Here are a few photos:

This step in the process separates the husks from the nuts before they are cleaned, dried and refrigerated.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Grow Your Own Trees

Are you interested in growing a few chestnut trees or starting your own orchard? Please contact us at kim@VirginiaChestnuts.com.  We will let you know when trees are available in the Spring and where they are available.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Back to the Blog

Much has happened in the last few years at Black Oak Farm.  We're now calling it Bryant Farm for one. And the chestnuts are moving in a forward direction.  2015 brought us our first decent harvest.  2016 brought another loss, only a few hundred pounds due to weather issues. But here we are on 2017 and optimistic about the harvest this year.

We have started another business, Virginia Chestnuts, and this will be the processing wing of chestnut production.  Virginia Chestnuts purchases chestnuts from Bryant Farm and other orchards and then takes on the responsibility of cleaning, weighing, refrigerating and selling the chestnuts.  Visit www.VirginiaChestnuts.com to see what's going on there.

We'll be posting photos during this harvest and would like to hear what you think.  You can send a comment at Virginia Chestnuts, or link to our FB page, https://www.facebook.com/virginiachestnuts/
 or our Twitter page, https://twitter.com/vachestnuts.  Look forward to hearing from you there.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Back to Chestnuts - 2014

Much has happened in the last few years, hence the break from the blog.  2013 turned out to be a disaster for chestnut farming.  It was the year of the cicada, and by July, my husband realized that they had done so much damage, that we would loose our crop.  He was 100% correct.

Moving forward, speaking with experienced farmers, the loss may turn out to be good for our crop this year.  When a tree does not have to produce fruit, the energy and nutrients it takes in build up the root structure. So we are hoping for a an extra special crop this year to make up for last year.  I'll be posting photos soon as trees begin to bud and we look for signs of the new crop.

We have continued to add trees to our crop each year, and now have about 1,500 trees on our farm. We have also started a growers group and have a total of 5 chestnut orchards in Nelson County.  2014 is looking good already.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Chestnuts are on the Way!

We didn't fall off the earth (or the internet), just too busy to post. The chestnuts are really doing well this year. Trees are out of the tubes and many trees have several chestnuts on them. Today the chestnut outer shell is green, and over the next few weeks it will begin to turn brown and we'll have our first, very small, crop. I post a few photos when they begin.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy 2011

We're back and ready for all that this new year has to offer. The chestnut trees are looking good and we are starting to work on the fields. This year we will try to get on top of the weeds before they choke out everything in their path. There seems to be a shortage of 10-10-10, so we're checking some other fertilizer options.

There has not been much loss of trees over the winter. The main problem has been the wind storms that cause the bamboo in the tree tubes to break and knock over the trees. That has an easy fix, just replacing the bamboo with rebar. The other problem is how the tube ties are breaking due to weather exposure. When the wind comes through, the ties are broken, leaving the rebar standing and the tree on the ground. Other than that, the majority of trees have exceeded the tree tube in growth (5 ft) and we are now hoping for a good number of those trees to produce chestnuts this year.

The other focus this year will be irrigation. In order to have a quality chestnut, it is necessary to insure that the trees have the correct amount of water. So we are working on the irrigation system in preparation for a dry summer.

That's all for now. If you have any suggestions on weed control, fertilizer or irrigation, let us know your thoughts. And as the leaves appear on the trees, we'll have more photos.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Last Chestnut

We carefully searched the orchard over the weekend for any remaining chestnuts. This one is still attached to the tree. I thought that I would pick it, but the shell is firmly attached. So we'll check it each day to see when it finally falls. The pod is not open, it may be a day or two.

Chestnut Trees

It's amazing to me that the chestnut trees have been so drought resistant this year. As of today, they still have their leaves. Some appear to have stress, and those were primarily the ones that produced nuts this year. We have not yet measured the loss for the season, however, will post that information within the week.