Chestnut Trees and Chestnuts
Home Company Products/Sales Farming Chestnuts Contact

Suggestions for Growers

Our research page presents these questions:

  • How can consumer awareness for chestnuts be increased economically?
  • How does the farmer manage the orchard to achieve the greatest yields?
  • How long can the chestnuts be on the ground before they start to rot?
  • What kind of soils will chestnuts tolerate and still be considered commercially viable?
  • How best can chestnuts be stored and for how long?
  • What is the best variety to grow commercially?
  • How can pests be controlled since there are few products labeled for use on chestnuts?
  • Some of these questions can be addressed in simple terms backed by research conducted at university research facilities around the world and casual research conducted within the United States of America. Before going into the suggestions a few myths must be addressed first.

    Myth #1 - Chestnut orchards can product 6000 lbs per acre - casual research indicates the best producing orchards in North America produce about 2200  lbs per acre.

    Myth #2 - Chinese chestnut trees out produce European - casual research indicates the best producing chinese chestnut tree orchards east of the Rocky Mountains produce about 1200 lbs per acre.

    Myth #3 - Chestnut producers make $6.00/lbs (2006 retail pricing) - casual research demonstrates only producers selling directly to consumers are receiving $6.00/lb. Many orchards selling to retail stores are receiving between $1.50 - $3.50 per pound. The pricing presented here is known in accounting as gross revenue.  When a producer actually makes money it is after all other expenses are paid. Many orchards are operated on the owners land where they live. If they had to repay land loans with interest for the land the trees are grown on, then few if any would actually make money. A local potato producer makes lots of money on the many acres they farm. Almost all the land they farm is rented on an annual basis for between $200-$350 per acre. The rent is far below the actual cost of owning the land.

    Myth #4 - Chestnut trees have few pests -  Like most crops the first few years the pests that harm chestnut trees and the nuts they produce are few in number, so little harm is done. As the pests increase in number the harm increases until the orchard can no longer produce commercial quality nuts.

    Myth #5 - Chestnut tress consistantly produce nuts year after year - Chestnut trees can produce execellent crops year after year as long as they are not stressed. Under stressed conditions, the chestnut trees may not produce many nuts. Chestnuts trees can experience stress with low nitrogen levels in the soil, soil ph greater than 6.5, drought, and soils with poor drainage./p>

    Myth #6 - Roasted chestnuts are an American tradition - Roasted chestnuts have been a part of both European and Asian diets for over 1000 years. The Romans helped establish the first chestnut groves in Europe. American tradition of using American chestnuts for providing culinary delight dates back before the arrival of the first Europeans.

    Now that the myths are addressed lets look at some suggestions. There are two very important suggestions. The first and most important is not to try to grow chestnut trees in clay soils. One of the United States leading experts in chestnut tree management says "Chestnut trees do not grow in clay soil". We attempted to place several chestnut trees in what would be considered a clay based soil. The results were all the same, the trees died. The other very important suggestion is to find the best producing variety for your conditions. The experts say its important to establish your orchard with grafted trees. This is excellent advice no matter where you estabilish your orchard. Conditions are not the same everywhere. For example, Marival trees take light frosts at the time they are budding as compared to most other European cultivars. Chinese chestnut trees take winter cold better than European varieties. The bottom line is no matter what the experts say, local conditions always take presidence in selecting chestnut tree cultivars for your orchard.

    Contact Information:

    Farm Location:
    6160 Everson Goshen Rd
    Everson, WA 98247
    Phone: (360) 592-3397

    Business Offices:
    DBA - Washington Chestnut Company
    6160 Everson Goshen Rd.
    Everson, WA 98247
    Phone: (360) 592-3397