A weekend of doing a whole lotta nuttin’

Brainstorming workshops on the next steps we can take 

to develop a new culture of small regional nut processing facilities together.

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The Quaker Oaks Tree Crop conference 

is going to be held in 

Blacksburg, Va September 14-16th

Come join the Acornucopia I-81 nut parade as we gather in Blacksburg for a camp out weekend focused on a collaboration of developing small regional nutteries. Asheville, Johnson City, Abingdon, Wytheville, Blacksburg, Roanoke, Lexington, Staunton, Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, and all their satellite communities are all along this major artery and we could be working together to create a new economy base around perennial tree crops supporting our local economies.

Weekend passes here- 30.00: 

A group campsite has been reserved at Boley Field just outside of Blacksburg in the Jefferson National Forest. Its is a beautiful location with lots of bike trails to explore. Tabla Rasa Restaurant will be catering  dinner Saturday night with awesome local organic food, and there will be potluck meals the rest of the weekend where food preparation is an exercise and a metaphor for sharing, creative collaboration, and working with what we have to feed everyone.

Just as the idea of cooking for 50 people is daunting, getting nuts from wild trees and creating food (Mast to mouth) is just too hard for individuals to take on as there are so many aspects to it. For the last 2 million years humans have worked together every Fall to reap the abundant harvests of the trees around them. Relying on each other is how we evolved to be human. Acornucopia is a  coalescence  of people who envision a world of mutually beneficial cooperatives. First we must gather and define a vision that is relevant for ourselves and our communities, and then see what talents people have to contribute. Needed are foragers, “nutworkers”, mechanics and tinkerers, marketers, teachers, artists, leaders, followers, nutritionists, computer savvy folks, cooks, value added entrepreneurs….. We have yet to find someone whose skills couldnt be utilized for getting highly nutritious nuts to the people who so badly are in need of them!

At the beginning of nut fall we will gather over the course of the third weekend in September 

and figure out what is the next step towards capturing this abundant resource that falls around us

The agenda will loosely be as follows:

1.) Learning which are the high value native nuts crops and identifying the trees they come from

2,) Scouting for these trees and what to look for when harvesting

3.) Techniques in gathering nuts, curing and getting to a hub/ processor

4.) Setting up a nut hub where nuts can be stabilized and safely held

If time and interest allows:

1.) Cooking with nuts/ what can be made from nuts

2.) Building markets for products

3.) “Show and smell”- sampling nuts, oils , flours, nut cheeses, etc

4.) Scaling up processing with efficient tools

5.) Completely nuts Talent show

6.) Mead Circle

7.) (???)

Within this framework we will gather in groups to discuss how to begin interfacing our communities with one another in supportive ways for a mutual goal. 

E.g. People who are tinkerers may gather around equipment development for curing nuts and processing, foragers may organize community forays, food people may gather with marketers and brainstorm about new product development, computer folks may get excited about developing foraging software aps, on and on…

…and you are needed.

This is going to fun, homespun, and s%^t is gonna get done.

Come as you are, come as you like , come and let’s go nuts

Tickets can be got:

 https://www.eventbrite.com/e/quaker-oaks-tree-crop-gathering-tickets-45404320545

For more info go to : https://www.acornucopiaproject.com/quaker-oaks

and 

https://www.acornucopiaproject.com/blog

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Seeking a new space

The Acornucopia/Nutty Buddy Collective are looking for a new space to set up our processing facility. Here’s what we’re looking for:

  • within 10-15 of downtown Asheville
  • short or longer-term rental/lease options
  • existing commercial kitchen space is ideal, will consider a space that could be developed as a kitchen
  • ample parking lot/driveway for taking deliveries from foragers
  • move in as soon as possible, ideally no later than September 1st

If you have any leads or ideas, please send us a message: nuttybuddycollective@gmail.com

Thank you!

P.S. start looking closely at the nut trees in your area- by this time of year, you can start to get a sense of which trees are going to be bearing a decent crop this season. We’ll be putting word out soon of our purchasing prices for acorns and bitternut hickories and our processing trade offer for black walnuts and other nuts.

nuts this way

Where do I bring all these nuts?

Join us for Acorn Tacos and May Day in the Orchard

Orchard May Day Blessing and Potluck Acorn Taco Picnic

This Sunday, April 29th in Leicester, NC the Nutty Buddy Collective will be hosting our annual blessing and picnic. This will be our fifth year of growing native nut and fruit trees on our leased land outside of Asheville. We like to open up the orchards to people of the community to come and see what it is we are doing and passionate about, and to enjoy this magical spot between two pristine creeks. Every year we get a little closer to our dream of creating a viable model of regenerative perennial agriculture and are so grateful for the opportunity to do so. Send a message to us at nuttybuddycollective@gmail.com to RSVP.

Location:

RSVP for location

Flow of the day:

9:00 – Biodynamic Blessing of the orchard. We will be swirling up some biodynamic brew and would love to shower you all with celestial vitality as we apply it to the land that supports our trees.

Between the blessing and the picnic there will be some simple spring care of trees lead by Bill

12:00 – Lunch gathering Potluck featuring home grown, homemade Acorn Masa tacos. Please bring some ingredients that would go well in a taco, a salad or desert.

1:30 – After lunch there will be a tour and update of our orchard projects. We will have nut products for sale whose proceeds go towards financing our project.

What to bring:

A contribution to the potluck

Pants, long socks, etc. for walking around in the orchards (we don’t mow until June after the ground nesting birds have flown)

A plate and cup for yourself

Water bottle (we’ll also have drinking water available)

Picnic blanket and/or camping chair (we’ll also provide some of these)

Treely Yours,

The Nutty Buddy CollectiveIMG_20180410_155714474.jpg

Nutty Buddy Collective ::: community-supported perennial agriculture

Updates for Spring 2018

We’ve got a handful of events in the coming months. These are opportunities to purchase nut oils, learn about native nuts, and find out how you can join in the fun.

 

  • Organic Grower’s School, March 10 & 11, Asheville, NC.
    We’ll have a vendor booth and Bill will be presenting on Native Nuts
  • May Day in the Orchard, April 29, Leicester, NC 1:00 – 4:00pm.
    Join us in the orchards for a community work day, picnic and open orchard tour. Come visit our beautiful orchards in their 5th year, meet friends, and learn about our vision.

  • Circus Quercus Spring Tour
    • March 15th – Charlottesville, Va, Farfields Farm
      Did you know the Bible was nuts? Native nuts and the Bible
    • March 16th – Harrisonburg, Va, Edith J. Carrier Arboretum
      “Do you know yer nuts?”, half day workshop training 1:00 – 5:00, familiarizing with native nuts, processing, their uses, and economic potential.
      Evening program 6:00 – 7:30 – “Waste nut Want Nut” sharing the vision of a Nutopia
    • March 17 & 18 – Harrisonburg, Va, The Vine and Fig presents
      Fruit and Nut School – two full days of horticultural training centered around low maintenance fruit and nut orchards. Orchard layout, pruning, grafting and cloning around

 

And stay tuned for more announcements to come. Join our email list to receive our newsletter and stay in the loop.

End of Nut Season, Nov. 19th

November 19 is the final day for deliveries to the Nuttery at Smith Mill Works. We will still be accepting deliveries of sizable quantities of acorn, hickory, and pecan by appointment only. Send an email to nuttybuddycollective@gmail.com to set up an appointment.

We’re grateful for all the foragers who participated this season. We will be in touch in the coming weeks about how you can pick up your share of nuts or receive your payout.

We’re wrapping up our gathering efforts and turning our attention now to processing. We’ve got approximately 5,000 lbs of nuts to transform into nut oils, meats, and flours!

More soon on all that.

It’s Nut Season! Here’s the deal:

CALLING ALL FORAGERS! We are buying some species of nuts and trading finished product for others.

We are buying Black Oak Acorns and Bitternut Hickories for $0.35/lb

We are buying Red Oak Acorns for $0.25/lb

If you would like to bring us White Oak Acorns or Pecans, we will note what you bring and give you finished product (shelled out nuts, nut flours, or other products) later in the season.

For in-hull Black Walnuts, we are offering the following: we will hull, clean, cure, crack, and sift the walnuts into two grades (1/2″ sifted and 1/4″ sifted) and return 40% of them to you in two bags with the different grades. The bags you receive will contain shell pieces and will require you to sort out the nuts. See below if you’d like an explanation of why we’re doing black walnuts this way.

***It’s very important that each species of nut delivered is kept separate. Each type of nut has different handling requirements and mixed deliveries add a lot of processing work and will receive a reduced trade or pay value.***

We will be accepting deliveries of nuts at our facility at Smith Mill Works in West Asheville on Wednesdays and Sundays from 4:30pm to 6:30pm. Direction to the Nuttery are at the end of this post.

We are also selling Nut Wizards, which are very wonderful harvesting tools that save you time and back pain. There are two sizes: one sized for Black Walnuts for $55, and one sized for Acorns at $45.

If you would like to forage for us and/or purchase a Nut Wizard, send an email to nuttybuddycollective@gmail.com

You can view and print our Forager’s Guide here, and we’re working on a blog post to help you identify trees accurately and provide more tips and info about harvesting. This is all part of our latest collaborative creation, the Acornucopia Project.

Acornucopia Project

 

To get to the Nuttery at Smith Mill Works: GPS address is 151 Cedar Hill Road, Asheville, NC 28806. Turn into gate at the entrance of Smith Mill Works and stay straight. We’re the first greenhouse on the right. Turn onto the small road just above the greenhouse for and drive up to the door for deliveries.

*The reason we’re offering to process walnuts only to the sifted, unsorted stage is that sorting nut meats from shell pieces is the most labor intensive part of the process. We cannot, with wild nuts that don’t separate easily from the shell, and at our current scale (lacking any fancy, expensive sorting equipment), possibly do all the work to get shell-free, sorted nuts and not lose money.

And one final note: This whole project is a big work in progress. We’re thinking of it as a community-scale experiment exploring how we can bring the largely unharvested abundance of our native nut trees to our plates in an economically-viable way. We don’t hardly have it all figured out and dialed in. This first year in particular is all about getting good data and developing each step of the process. We appreciate your patience and understanding and willingness to cooperate with us in this experiment. And we are all ears if you’ve got any input, ideas, questions, and feedback. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Summer time trees: pinching, plucking, taming

This is the first post from Nutty Buddy Nurseries about fruit and nut tree care. As we grow, we aim to increase and improve both our nursery offerings and our support to fellow growers of fruits and nuts – including blog posts and other online resources. 

The flowers have bloomed, the fruit has set, the roots and shoots have had sent out their big flushes of early growth.  You’ve got your new trees in the ground, seedbeds planted, mulch spread, established trees fertilized. Perhaps you’re feeling like it’s time to string your hammock between some trees and kick back til the fruit rolls in.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t nap. I believe in naps for all. But don’t hang out in that proverbial orchardist’s hammock quite yet. There’s still critical work to be done that can really make or break a year’s crop and also affect future seasons. The good news is that these are not difficult things to do. Below is an introduction to 3 basic tasks for spring and summer fruit tree care:

  • Thinning – That’s right. Believe it or not, you’ve got to bring yourself to pluck baby fruits off your tree. So full of hope and possibility, their bright little bodies swelling a bit more each day with anticipation of the juicy grandeur they were born to send dripping down your chin…DASHED! by the slice of the pruner blades or the twist of a wrist. Sadly, the majority of the fruitlets on the many fruit trees are best removed. Culling out fruits until there is a space of roughly 8″ between each one will allow light to strike all sides of the fruit, which helps with ripening and reduces habitat for disease and insects who find protection in the delicious enclosure created by fruits that are touching one another. Another good reason is pacing: some species, and some varieties in particular, can get overzealous about fruiting and will cash in on their reserves to set as many fruits as they can muster. Next year, the tree will have to spend its energy recovering and will not set a crop. This two-year boom and bust is known as biennial bearing. You can help your tree pace itself by thinning a heavy fruit set with an equally heavy hand. It’s actually best to do this a bit earlier in the season when the fruitlets are smaller, but June is still not too late. In some cases, like with apricots and peaches, you can get way out ahead of the tree and use a brush or stick to remove large swaths of flowers before or shortly after they’re pollinated. Be careful not to twist off the fruit spur while removing fruitlets. Sometimes this task can be done by hand with the assistance of a stout thumb nail, sometimes hand pruners are the tool for the job. Thin apples, pears, quince, peaches, apricots, nectarines, and plums.
  • Pinch pruning – This is the fine art of nipping an issue in the bud. You can stop your trees from spending energy unnecessarily by cutting out new growth where you’d prune it out later anyway. Sprouts along the truck between scaffolds, sprouts that are growing inward or otherwise cluttering the tree, those vertical shoots of very vigorous green growth called watersprouts – all this undesirable growth can be halted in its tracks by pinching it off.  You ideally will be getting to this growth while it’s still young so you can knock off the spouts with your fingers or with the assistance of a stout thumbnail. If you don’t get a clean break, use your pruners. Pinch pruning can also be used to ‘devigorate’ a tree, to help it relax a bit from all that rampant green growing and encourage it to put its energy into forming lateral, fruiting branches by pinching back the terminal buds of the outside branches. This taming should only be done to trees of fruiting age.
  • Fighting fire blight, battling borers, and other fun
    fire blight

    Beware the shepherd’s crook! Cut it out well past the symptoms, ASAP.


    There are all kinds of bugs, bacteria, and not-so-fun fungi that love to feast on the delicious flesh of fruit trees. There are hundreds of pests and diseases of fruit trees, each one with its own unique, creative way to destroy your hopes and dreams of abundance.  I recommend the sleek and very informative, if not very succinctly titled Tree Fruit Field Guide to Insect, Mite, and Disease Pests and Natural Enemies of Eastern North America if you want to go deep on learning about these ‘enemies of the plate’.  I’m just going to discuss two of the standouts here. First, fire blight: this is a bacterial disease that enters the apple, pear, and quince via the flowering tips and fresh shoots. Infected tissue wilts and remains on the tree, allowing the bacteria to continue to move down the branch. If left untreated, the infection can reach the trunk and eventually kill the tree.  A tell tale mark of fire blight is the ‘shepherd’s crook’ appearance of the wilting tips. Prune out any infected limbs at least one foot below the symptoms as soon as they are detected, but wait for dry weather. Spread of the disease via pruning cuts is more likely when there is more moisture in the air. Disinfecting your tools between cuts is a good idea, especially if they come into direct contact with infected wood, but this isn’t really all that practical if you’re pruning several trees with blight – your best bet is to make your pruning cuts well below (12″ or more) the symptoms. Remove prunings from the area around the trees and burn them or place where they’ll bake in sun, like on a driveway.A second pest to be on the lookout for is the borer. Actually, there are several genera and species of borers that attack the cambium of fruit trees throughout the growing season. Look closely at the trunk and limbs for evidence of boring. If you see little clusters of moist, sawdust-like frass (bug poo) or other unusual marks around the base of the tree, you might have borers. Get down there and feel around for where the bark isn’t holding tight to the tree and peel it back to reveal the borers or their tunnels into the cambium. If you see ’em, squish ’em. If you don’t, get a coat hanger or some skinny, flexible metal, find the boring tunnels, and cram the wire in there. It might seem brutal treatment for the tree, but leaving the borers to their feeding frenzy is much worse. They can eventually girdle and kill a tree.

Alright – now don’t forget to string up that hammock and enjoy some fistfuls of serviceberries and mulberries while you watch the peaches swell and the early apples and pears begin to blush.

Drop us a line if you’ve got a question or need help in your home orchard:  nuttybuddynurseries@gmail.com

 

Pruning ponderings

Pruning ponderings….contact us if you need help making the right decisions for your trees!