Deciduous Chestnut trees belong in the genus, Castanea, and are related to the Oakes and Beeches. The historical record of Chestnut culture and human nut consumption dates back more than 6,000 years. One testament to the historical culture of the Chestnut is the existence of a large 6 foot + diameter tree planted 600 years ago in Athens, Greece by the Romans. It is a “grafted tree” that is still bearing nuts! The abundant and delicious Chestnuts in early American folklore were commonly referred to as “bread of the mountains”, “nut grain”, and “tree corn”. In addition to an abundant food source for both European colonizers and Native Americans, in early American history the Chestnut tree also provided valuable strong and rot resistant wood products, tannic acid, charcoal, and abundant wildlife mast. Four distinct regions of the world have their own representative species of Chestnuts; North America (Castanea dentata), Europe (C. sativa), China (C. mollissima), and Japan (C. crenata). At the beginning of the 1900’s, a canker / blight disease (Cryphonectria parasitica) was in advertently introduced into North America from Asia which eventually destroyed all the native Chestnut forests in North America. This ecological disaster not only destroyed over one in four trees in these mixed species forests, but America’s culinary skills to collect, store, prepare and ultimately consume this valuable nut was lost over time. This is a major marketing hurdle for today’s commercial Chestnut industry. And also, understandably, almost all Chestnut nut production in the U.S. today comes from hybrid crosses of genetically blight susceptible American and/or European stock crossed on genetically blight resistant Chinese and/or Japanese stock. The Chestnut cultivar grown at the Pine Patch is “Colossal”, an older commercialized cultivar, which is thought to be a European/ Japanese cross and therefore resistant to the Chestnut blight. Also, our trees are from “seedling planting stock” which were grown from cross-pollinated nuts, so each tree has it’s own unique genetics which translates into variations in both tree and nut characteristics within the orchard. Our oldest Chestnut trees were planted in year 2000.
Tuesday, Oct 19, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time
Tuesday, Oct 19, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time
Tuesday, Oct 19, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time
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