Author Archives: nuttybuddycollective

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 to RSVP.


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 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

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:


Pruning ponderings

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

May Day Picnic in the Orchard + Spring Biodynamic Orchard Blessing + Opportunity to Earn Nutty Buddy Bux


Join us for a May Day Picnic Potluck in the Orchard on Sunday, April 30th

in Leicester, NC 
Please RSVP for details and directions to

Half way between equinox and summer solstice is the cross quarter day of May 1st which symbolizes the height of green grass and high tides of fertility and promise for a fruitful year. There is no better place to celebrate this than in pristine fruit and nut orchards. Since time immemorial, humans have gathered in the orchards to give thanks and bless the trees that have nurtured our species for millions of years. The Nutty Buddies will be gathering in the beautiful headwaters of Turkey Creek in Leicester to bless our orchards by applying biodynamics to call in all the goodness of the universe and our community.

We will also have an art station set up for kids young and old to make nut prayer flags. Prayer flags come from the Eastern countries of Tibet, China and Persia. They are traditional simple devices that work with the natural energy of the wind to harmonize the environment, and increasing happiness and good fortune among all living beings. For those wanting to beautify the environment, increase awareness of this community nut project, and continue education about edible perennial nuts, we shall make nut prayer flags!

Sunday, April 30th
9:00-12:00 Biodynamic Blessing, Mulching in the orchard

12 noon – 2:00 pm picnic potluck lunch, Nut Prayer flag making, and discussion

2-4:00 optional tour of orchard/ grafting demo/ or wild woods walk to waterfalls

  • Please bring a potluck dish, something to eat out of, and silverware. On the menu from the NBC: grilled venison,  pesto, creamed sochan, sumac tea, hickory milk, and other wildly delicious and perennial foods and drinks. Lunch will start around 1pm.
  • We’re accepting any goodwill donations you might want to offer – all proceeds will support the development of our nut processing facility.
  • We’ll do grafting demonstrations and tour of the orchards
  • We’ll have a fire and fireside chat about what the Nutty Buddy Collective has been up to

Also, you’re invited to arrive early at 9:00 to participate in applying biodynamic compounds. Please bring a sprig of a tree or bush that is special to you. Afterwards we will mulch trees and take care of some other maintenance tasks in the orchard.

Contact for details and to RSVP.

Please RSVP for details and directions:

Getting crackin’ thanks to you!

Late last summer,  with two 99-year leases in place and our young nut & fruit trees slowly and steadily growing into abundant orchards, we decided it was time to start developing our processing facility. Growing the black walnuts, acorns, hickories, chestnuts, hazelnuts, cider pears and apples, aronia berries, and pawpaws is one thing (or, actually, it’s many things…). Making these crops into fine food products to be sold to market-goers and chefs is quite another thing.

We’re headed into not-very-well-charted territory in our effort to bring these uncommon crops to market. We can’t just go to and buy a continuous-feed black walnut cracker or chestnut sheller, for example. The equipment that does exist is often homemade by other nutty tinkerers and difficult to find for sale, let alone for testing and comparing with other options.

So, we set ourselves to researching and some R&D to explore various options and ideas for how to set up our processing facility. We decided to aim first for a large, powerful and versatile nut cracker that could crack a wide variety of nuts with minimal adjustments. We found the Patriot 600, which can handle up to 600 lbs. of nuts per hour. The cost was about $6000. This would allow us to easily crack any nut we wanted and begin to develop sorting (separating nut meat from shell pieces) methods, as well as begin to offer cracking services to other foragers and growers.

We turned to you all, our community of family, friends, customers and accomplices, to help make it happen. And you did! With your generosity and support, we succeed in raising enough funds to buy the cracker. We feel deeply grateful for your donations and, more importantly, for being a part of this wild vision we have for community that cares for each other and the earth for the long-term. You – whether you donated $5 or $500, or supported us with advice or encouragement or collaboration or by simply caring about what we’re up to – you are a critical piece of the Nutty Buddy Collective. We call our model ‘community-supported perennial agriculture’ because, for these slow-growing, long-lived, semi-wild and ecologically-regenerative crops and ways of growing to work, we need a village. Thank you for being a part of our nascent village and helping us take the next big step.

And there’s something else, too…now that you’ve helped us reach our goal, we’re excited to announce our next big thing. All the community support, research, conversation, and nut gathering, cracking, and snacking  has inspired us to launch the…

Acornucopia Project!

Acornucopia is a place where folks can stroll in the shade of their backyards, parks, and farms, picking up nuts and to sell to their local nut depot, bringing health and wealth to people and planet. It’s a big vision and lots of fun. Check out the website!

And now, without further ado, here is the Patriot 600 nut cracker in action:


‘When it rains, it pours’ could not hold any truer than with acorns. Without apparent reason other than fall, they just seem to be all over the ground and then they slowly disappear again. It’s one of those magical cycles that come and go with little fanfare and mostly annoyance by the human race. It hasn’t always been that way. Throughout the entirety of man’s evolution oak trees, which dominate most temperate regions around the world, have supported us. Rich in carbohydrates, rich in oils, rich in protein, the deep rooted perennial acorn mining trace nutrients from deep in the Earth could be the original manna from heaven. Oak trees have been known to individually produce up to 1000 lbs of acorns in a year given ideal circumstances.

White oaks have evolved to sprout in the fall as soon as they hit the ground if it is moist. The red oak family, more patient, waits until spring to wake up and send its deep taproot into the soft spring ground. Appropriately, the impetuous white oak is made up of fast burning carbohydrates and the red is much more rich in oil and protein. Both are loaded with tannic acid that makes them undesirable for eating out of hand like a chestnut, hickory, walnut, or peanut butter sandwich.


White oak acorns are lower in tannins than red oak acorns and sprout shortly after dropping

I began seriously fooling around with acorns this fall by gathering whatever I could with my son Gabe. I knew enough to keep the reds and the whites in separate buckets as they are very different foods with very different properties. Just as the commodity brokers keep their corn separate from their soybeans. We harvested with a “Nut Wizard” which is an ingenious device that magically picks up small nuts by rolling a basket type cylinder on the ground and the nuts get forced in under the pressure exerted but don’t come out. This keeps your knees clean, if you know what I mean, and you can pick up an enormous amount of nuts in a very short amount of time. “Clean Knees” means a healthy back. It wasn’t hard for my son Gabe and me to fill a couple of five gallon buckets in an hour under a particularly prolific white oak denuded of grass underneath. There were so many acorns you didn’t need roller blades to glide along. Mind you, Gabe is 4 years old and had to have the wizard at least half the time. It is imperative that the whites get cured out as soon as possible because carbs are relished by the microorganism world even more than the macroorganism world. Some screen doors off the ground, under roof and protected from rodents made perfect drying racks. The oils in the reds which helps carry the germ through the winter makes them more resilient to possible storage issues.

After about a month I was able to get to processing the whites. The shells were brittle and nut meats were very hard and that made for gratifying shelling. As Gabe worked the ‘DaveBilt’ table top nut sheller, processing a 5 gallon bucket in about 15 minutes, I prepared the water bath in which we would pour all the shells and meats. From that 99% of the shells float while all the meats sink, making separation a slice of acorn flour fruit cake. Leaching is the next step and entails further softening of the halves, blending into small pieces and pouring many changes of water over. After drying again, a very nice dark flour product is the result that adds a rich nutty texture to any baked goods you make, or thickener for soup, addition to granola, etc. I was impressed on how easy it really was. All the whites got treated that way and were put away on the pantry shelf in mason jars to protect against grain moths. They will store several years like that.

Then came time to play with the red oaks and little did I suspect how significantly they were going to change my life! To be continued….



Fundraiser and nut cracker update


First, just wow. $5,650! We’re overjoyed to be the recipients of so much support and generosity from so many folks who believe in this work. It really puts wind in our sails. Or maybe it’s fertilizer at our roots..

If you want to donated or just learn more about what the fundraiser is about, check it out here:

Though we haven’t reached our goal of $10,000 as of yet, the Nutty Buddy Collective is moving forward with development of nut cracking equipment.

Every fall, many thousands of pounds of native nuts fall around us and by nature are an open source food. Every year they are shuffled out of our yards and into the bins , bags, and bottoms never to reach their intended goal of being food. They are of a higher flavor and nutritional quality than foods brought in from afar, organic or otherwise.

The idea of harvesting, processing and selling native black walnuts and hickories is a currently obscure concept and hardly any research and development is out there. Wild native nuts are such a marginal economic crop that it is currently reachable by only one large national operator. It is part of the NBC’s mission to develop a model and open source all its accompanying technology so anyone anywhere can pick up wherever we are and improve upon it, share it, and create a perennial food collective.

In short, we are developing a model relying on social capital and innovation rather than debt bondage. We believe that if grassroots organizers collaborate, we can create small local models around the world of perennial agriculture that will produce food indefinitely, keep wealth in local communities where it belongs, and environmentally, humans will be a net gain for the planet once again.

Would you care to join us on the journey?