We dropped by Kirk Family Filberts the other day to see how the hazelnuts are coming along.
The Kirks are our next-door neighbors on Wigrich Road. When it snows at Rogue Farms it snows at the Kirk’s place. When it floods here, it floods there. When the floods are so high that the beavers can swim into their hazelnut orchards and eat their trees – then we’re glad beavers don’t like hops.
Despite the floods and the deep freeze this winter, Lance Kirk says his 98-acre orchard is in great shape. Good news because Lance grows the hazelnuts we roast for our Rogue Spirits Hazelnut Spice Rum.
The Kirks lost a few trees to the floods this year, and there’s no signs of freeze damage. As he took us around the orchard everything looked healthy.
Hazelnuts love the terroir of Western Oregon. About 98% of the U.S. crop is grown just a short drive from Rogue Farms in Independence.
We saw some of the first hazelnuts of the season forming on the trees. This is the time of year they put all their energy into getting bigger. “Sizing up” as Lance calls it.
The big chore in the orchard this time of year is keeping the floor (ground) free of weeds and debris. So when the nuts start falling, Lance and his crew can sweep them off the floor and into baskets. By the way, the Kirks don’t shake the trees or do anything like that to force the nuts out of the trees. Mother Nature knows when the hazelnuts are ripe and they will fall on their own when the timing is right.
When the Kirks are done harvesting and processing, we’ll get our share and drive them 77 miles over the Coast Range to the Rogue Distillery in Newport. There we’ll roast them the oven to bring out their nutty taste, then we hang them in a sack in the distilling column to infuse the flavor into our Hazelnut Spice Rum.
And that’s how you grow spirits from Tree to Table.