SONG News September 2010 no.89
In this Issue...

Ernie Grimo and folks at the farm of Eddie Arnold with his heartnut planting of 800 grafted trees this spring and then put Plantra tubes on them for protection.

ECSONG Update July 27, 2010

West of Kanata along the Ottawa River is the lovely 'Riverfront Recreation Area'. Various paths leading down to the river are graced with healthy butter nut trees. Some of them are quite big. Without sharing the specific location perhaps this will inspire some visitors to Ottawa to take the time to check it out.

The Butternut Tree has been big topic of concern in the Ottawa/Gatineau area this season. A road expansion in Kanata is set to remove as many as 50 Butternut Trees. My call to City Hall had them confirming that replacement trees will be replanted elsewhere in the city region. In Gatineau, the famous Royal Ottawa Golf course parking lot extension plan may well see the end of the largest currently recorded Butternut Tree in North America. ECSONG long time member John Sankey has a few pictures posted at Both the ECSONG membership and CPNCQ across the river, (thanks to our liaison Richard Viger) are aware of the challenges. Your awareness as members will hopefully prompt you to contact your local councillors to express your views on the matter.

It continues to be a privilege and a pleasure to engage in establishing nut groves with friends. Watching the groves develop over the years adds insight into getting Black Walnut trees established. Six year old black walnut nutlings in my backyard have really grown this year. At the start of the season, around 100 were between 1 and 2 meters tall. Checking this past weekend, a dozen or more are over 3 meters. Black Walnuts grow great in west Ottawa! In general, some trees start well but later succumb to squirrel and deer damage. A squirrel recently discovered a recently planted nutlings at my brother's place and the rest is history. Two halves of the shell and a chewed up stem is an all too frequent experience where there are resident squirrel populations. Some nutlings accidentally get nipped by the lawnmower, others get forgotten as to where they were planted in the bush. Nothing like creating your own hide and seek nut groves. In the end, for me, getting the nutlings established means starting them in enclosed squirrel proof cages. Squirrels will chew through 2x4's to get the nuts. My advice, buy the lumber and 1/4 gauge chicken wire, build a cage and protect the seedlings. Everything else is a risk.

For a trivia question, how many of you think that a peanut is a nut? Nut allergies are a big concern and SONG members are sensitive to this concern. But get this, peanuts are not nuts, they are in fact a 'legume' which is along the lines of a green bean. The 'peanut' might be better labelled a 'bean nut' ... en.wikipedia.orq/wiki/Peanut... (fruit)

ECSONG's very own Neil Thomas has recently published his book, 'Biomass Nut Production in Black Walnut', en email BEACHREAD305. His 'Lostwithiel Farm' near Gananoque, Ontario is a fantastic example of a planned Black Walnut orchard and a testament to his practical experience with this nut tree species. Congratulations Neil on having your work published!

ECSONG invites all members and friends to continue to monitor the local nut tree species in their area. The region is home to many types of excellent eating nuts. As we are now in mid-season, keep a close lookout for trees that are bearing nuts for 2010. Have a great summer and fall.

Chris Skaarup, ECSONG Chair 2010

Requiem for a Special Tree

Canada's and indeed the world's largest butternut tree was cut down at the Royal Ottawa Golf Course, Gatineau, Quebec on 23 July 2010.

What do we know about this tree?

First, an ECSONG team measured it in 2002 following the standard of American Forests. Its trunk was 2.1 meters in diameter; it's branch spread 28.4 meters; its height 25.8 meters. This is larger in all three measures than the largest listed American tree at the time, and butternut is native solely to North America.

It was multi-stemmed. An original tree had been cut down, then sprouted from around the circumference of the stump, and the sprouts eventually grew together. This structure was confirmed by a club employee after it was cut, from the trunk. (The largest US tree also has this structure.)

How old was it? At least 300 years by our estimate. The consensus of foresters who examined it on behalf of ECSONG was that the sprouts were about 150 years old in 2002, and that the original tree was probably at least as old when it was cut. My examination of photos of the stump indicates that the original stump was some 30% larger in diameter than the sprouts, thus suggesting an age of 200 years. So, it probably began to grow in 1650, give or take at least 50 years. Unfortunately, the Royal Ottawa Golf Course, reacting to recent negative press, informed ECSONG by phone that they would not approve permission for a scientific examination of the stump.

Why was it destroyed?

It seems that a branch fell off it and that it may have been infected with the butternut canker. The Club states that two advisors were consulted prior to removing the tree. Possible options that were open to the Club could have included providing a low barrier around it. In addition a claim was made that it wasn't really a pure butternut but a Japanese hybrid not protected by Canada's endangered species acts.

The hybridization claim is easily refuted. Japanese walnut material was not available until after the opening of Japan to commerce by the United States in 1852. The tree has to have started to grow well prior to this date.

In regard to the canker claim, this does not vitiate protection under Canadian law. Root injections of fungicide can kill the fungus. The club could easily have afforded the cost of treatment; ECSONG could have raised many times the amount required by public subscription.

In the end, the tree was destroyed before effective action could be mobilized to assist the Club in protecting this nut tree giant. Canada has lost a treasure, the world has witnessed the passing of a famous Canadian landmark.

John Sankey

Hazelnut Industry Mounts Safety Push
Salmonella discovery in peanuts prompts PDA inspections
Mitch Lies, Capital Press

Last September, three months before the Food and Drug Administration found salmonella in an Oregon hazelnut processing plant, the hazelnut industry met to address food safety. Still, the discovery of salmonella in December at Willamette Shelling in Newberg, Ore., was a wake-up call, said Polly Owen, manager of the Hazelnut Industry Office.

And while additional inspections have failed to find salmonella, the industry is not letting down its guard, Owen said. In a recent report to the Oregon Board of Agriculture, Owen said the industry is taking a two-pronged approach to ensuring hazelnuts are safe.

The first involves developing good handling and management practices. The industry is using information from the Oregon Department of Agriculture and the California Almond Board to develop the programs. The second involves educating growers and processors on safety measures. "We want to make sure everybody is on the same page," Owen said.

The discovery of salmonella at the Newberg plant last December was unsettling on several fronts, Owen said. Willamette Shelling, one of about eight large-scale hazelnut processors in Oregon, had never tested positive for salmonella despite regular checks. Because the plant was the first tested by PDA inspectors, the industry worried more salmonella could be found.

The recall eventually expanded to 10 farmers, retailers and wholesalers, including Whole Foods, Harry and David and several farms whose hazelnuts were processed at the plant. PDA's decision to inspect Oregon hazelnut-processing plants was triggered by the discovery of salmonella in other nut products, including peanuts processed by Peanut Corp. of America in Georgia earlier in 2009. The December recall, Owen said, was the only hazelnut recall ever conducted in Oregon.

The fact the PDA chose to inspect the Newberg processor first was strictly random, according to Vance Bybee, administrator of the Oregon Department of Agriculture's Food Safety Division. Ironically, hazelnut industry leaders in that September meeting decided to postpone addressing food safety until after harvest.

"We identified issues we thought we should take a look at," Owen said. "But we decided that because we were getting into harvest, we would wait until our next meeting in February to address the issues.

"We didn't know the PDA was already out and about," she said.

Annual Summer Meeting

The July summer meeting was attended by approximately 30 visitors which was held at the 14 acre Grimo Nut Tree Nursery located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

It was a hot, sunny Saturday morning. Ernie Grimo, our guide, began with a tour of the beautifully laid out nursery of nut tree varieties of grafts & seedlings being grown/developed for retail/ wholesale distribution throughout North America. Our group then proceeded through the 40 year old orchard of Heartnut, Pecan, European Walnut, Hazels, Black Walnut, Hickory, Chestnuts, Butternut. It was a wonderful park like setting, with a gentle cool breeze created by the shade of the mature foliage of the forest of nut tree varieties. The orchard produces an abundant supply of various nuts which Ernie & daughter Linda retail at the gate, as well as to high end restaurants.

After the tour Ernie & Linda laid out a hearty lunch. With lunch over the SONG/ECSONG business meeting was commenced.

First on the agenda was the passing of a motion that SONG would contribute about $100.00 more or less to cover the cost of the food & drinks.

Ernie Grimo was obtaining quotes for a 1000 copies of an updated 125 page version of "NUT GROWING ONTARIO STYLE" which was first published in 1993, authored by John Gordon of Amherst, New York. No price has been set yet for the new publication. The book will be included (at no charge) to new members signing up for a prepaid three year membership. Ernie is searching for a grant to cover all or part of the cost of the publication. So far there has been no grant support.

Chris Cunnliffe, SONG Past-president offered Volume I of an NNGA publication on North American nut culture. The book sold for a bargain price of $20.00 which Chris donated to SONG/ECSONG.

Olga Crocker, SONG Research Director, indicated two University of Windsor students have developed a Heart Nut Cracker prototype which is being funded by a government research grant of $15,000.00 plus $5,000.00 from SONG/ ECSONG. Results are encouraging, but more work is required to perfect the unit. Olga Crocker put much time consuming effort into obtaining this ;rant. Her efforts are much appreciated.

John Pol researched & wants to develop a Heartnut cracker which utilizes compressed air at 600 PSI in a chamber containing the heartnuts. The sudden release of the pressure causes the nut to split open releasing the near perfect whole nut meat.

Election of officers. Marilynda Cunliffe, a long time dedicated Director (who with Linda Grimo made the 2007 NNGA Annual Meeting In Ottawa a great success) stepped down as Director for health reasons. Laura Wilde was elected replacing Marilynda.

The remaining Executives/Directors were acclaimed for another year. The Business Meeting was adjourned at 2p.m.

The group then visited two relatively new area nut groves of Ron Quevillon and Eddie Arnold.

Edible Nut Pines

I am enclosing 3 pictures to further update my expansion of my commercial planting of edible nut pines.

Picture #1 - Korean pine 7 yrs old. Please note that this is average age of start of production of cones and pine nuts.
Picture #2 - Korean pine 15 yrs old. They are now producing approximately 2 bushel of cones which is equal to approximately 10 pounds of in shell nuts. Each year the production increases. With a planting of 60 trees per acre, this averages out to over 600 pounds of nuts per acre.
Picture #3 - Armandii pine 8 yrs old - This tree started bearing at 6 years and this is its second crop of cones. The pine nuts are slightly smaller than the Korean pine, but are large enough to be grown as a commercial crop.

I have several other varieties producing cones, but wanted the enclosed pictures to present to our membership on the viability of growing edible nut pines as a commercial crop and to present the time that can be expected for these trees to produce their first crop and also show at another age how many cones per tree can be expected.

Charles Rhora

In Memoriam

After a long illness, Marion Grimo passed away on March 19, 2010. She was the loving wife of Ernie Grimo. She is survived by her 4 children, Cheryl Grimo, Linda Grimo, Joanne Johnson and Andrew Grimo and 6 grandsons, two granddaughters, a brother and a sister. She is missed by all.

She will be remembered by our customers who were given a warm and cheerful welcome at the Grimo nut sales area. She never tired of proudly showing the various nut trees around the yard to visitors and showing them how to crack the nuts.

She was a former Treasurer of SONG and held that office from 1983 to 1994. She attended all of the SONG meetings faithfully from its beginning in 1972 until incapacitated by her illness.

She was also a long time supporter of the NNGA woman's programme which she helped to organize for the annual meetings.

She was recognized with a Citizenship Award for her volunteer efforts to establish and lead the Niagara Community Kitchen, a soup kitchen that provided lunch for the less fortunate in Niagara Falls, Ontario. This organization continues to this day.

Provided by SONG. Feel free to copy with a credit.