The next round of funding for the Hazelnut Renewal program is now available, helping B.C. hazelnut growers replace trees and establish new orchards with disease-resistant varieties.
“We are now in third year of this successful program and it has been very popular with hazelnut growers looking to replace their orchards with eastern blight resistant varieties,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “Our goal from the beginning was to offer a program that provides accessibility and flexibility for farmers, and the results are encouraging.”
In the first two years of the Hazelnut Renewal program, 18,444 new trees were planted over 34 hectares (94 acres). At the same time, 4,795 infected trees were removed over 17 hectares (42 acres). In B.C., commercial production of hazelnuts is centred in the eastern Fraser Valley, mainly around Chilliwack and Agassiz, though there are orchards in the southern Interior and on Vancouver Island.
In 2018, the B.C. government provided the BC Hazelnut Growers Association with $300,000 over three years to help growers expand hazelnut acreage in B.C. by replacing dead and diseased orchards with new, eastern filbert blight resistant trees. The program is accepting new applications until Sept. 15, 2020, for fall planting and removal.
“The Hazelnut Renewal program has supported the renewal of our industry as we continue to work towards sustainability,” said Neal teBrink, president, BC Hazelnut Growers Association. “From the Fraser Valley to the Okanagan and on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, we are continuing to plant new, healthy hazelnut trees and are excited for the future.”
Ned Bell, an executive chef, said: “When I create and build my dishes with B.C. hazelnuts, I know that it represents the end of a valued and valuable farm-to-table journey that begins in the orchard with the hard work of our local growers. B.C. hazelnuts are an incredible product, and I love showcasing locally grown, fished and harvested food in my recipes.”
Hazelnuts are a species of tree in the Corylus family and are often referred to as filberts. There are several native species in North America but the European hazelnut is the primary species grown commercially.
- The B.C. hazelnut industry is comprised of approximately 40 growers with about 141 hectares (350 acres).
- The Hazelnut Renewal program allows a maximum eligible acreage planting of four hectares (10 acres) for double (maximum 269 trees/acre) or single density planning, and eight hectares (20 acres) exclusively for single density planting (maximum 132 trees/acre) per farm operation.
- The hazelnut is a small brown oval nut that varies in size depending on the variety.
- Hazelnuts grow in clusters of one to six nuts, each covered by a shell and a husk that encases the nut. When the nut is ripe, the husk of some species and varieties releases the nut, while in others the husk must be picked and mechanically separated from the nuts.
- The kernel of the nut is edible and used raw or roasted, and as an ingredient in many commercial, baked and culinary products.
For more information about the Hazelnut Renewal Program, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/programs/hazelnut-renewal-program