Trimming the tree has a whole different meaning here in the heart of Oregon hazelnut country that surrounds us at Rogue Farms.
It has nothing to do with ornaments, lights or popcorn strung around a Christmas tree. For hazelnut growers, like our neighbors at Kirk Family Filberts, it’s seriously hard work that’s essential for a bountiful harvest next fall.
Trimming, better known as pruning, helps maintain a healthy hazelnut orchard. The Kirks remove branches that are dead, old or diseased. As they prune, they’re on guard for signs of Eastern Filbert Blight, a nasty fungus that causes branches to die during the summer growing season.
The Kirks also want to keep their hazelnut trees from getting too large. An overgrown tree is an inefficient tree, wasting natural resources on branches that produce little or no nuts.
The key is giving tree branches as much exposure to the sun as possible. Hazelnuts don’t grow in the shade and without enough sunlight a branch won’t produce a crop.
The Kirks will continue carefully pruning for the next couple of months. Then, in late January or early February, we’ll start to see the flowers that signal the end of winter and the start of the hazelnut growing season.
You’ll be able to taste the Kirk’s hazelnuts every time you open a bottle of our Rogue Spirits Hazelnut Spice Rum. We could buy our hazelnuts off store shelves, but we like knowing the origin of all our ingredients, and we can’t think of a better grower than our neighbors the Kirk family.
Come join us at Rogue Farms this winter as we prepare for another season of growing beers, spirits, ciders and sodas.